Prince Dube’s brace helped the Warriors cruise to a 3-1 victory over Lesotho in the first leg of the final round encounter of the 2020 CHAN Qualifiers in Harare on Sunday.
The 22-year-old scored in either half as Zimbabwe secure an advantage in the tie ahead of the return fixture next month.
The game had a cagey start with no meaningful attacks from both sides, but it was the visitors who saw more of the ball in the first quarter-hour.
The home team, meanwhile, relied much on Phineas Bamusi who was manacing on the left flank. The winger delivered a brilliant cross on minute 23 which was headed home by Dube to break the deadlock.
The header was the Warriors’ only chance on target in the first half as they failed to execute the opportunities that followed.
Lesotho, on their side, created some decent build-ups but could not reach for goal as they went to the break trailing behind.
The second period started on a slow pace again and the first real chance after the interval came on minute 54 when Dube tried to lob the ball over the advancing keeper, but his effort rested on the roof of the net.
However, it was not long until the Highlanders striker got his second of the day after he headed in another ball to make it 2-0 for Zimbabwe on the hour.
The tempo slowed on both ends in the following moments, and there were no goalmouth incidents during that time.
Substitute Wellington Taderera then liven up the action later in the game when he scored a superb long-range grounder six minutes before the time.
Lesotho pulled one back from the spot through Kalale Hlompho in the stoppage time, but it was too late to reduce the arrears again as it ended 3-1.
The second leg will be played on 18 October in Maseru.