Khama Billiat struck a brace to help Zimbabwe beat Zambia 2-1 in an Afcon Qualifier in Lusaka on Tuesday.
The Warriors had drawn their opening match of the qualifying campaign against Botswana on Friday but bounced back with a brilliant performance against Chipolopolo.
The two teams played an entertaining first half with both sides taking chances to attack.
The hosts set an early pace with Justine Shonga’s first-minute cross finding no takers inside the box. Zimbabwe picked up a few moments later forcing two corner-kicks inside the opening ten minutes.
The high-pressure paid off in the tenth minute when Khama Billiat headed in Knowledge Musona’s corner-kick to put the visitors in front.
Chipolopolo tried to respond quickly but Justin Mulenga’s long-range effort went wide in the 12th minute. Partson Daka followed up with another opportunity and goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze pulled a great save to deny him.
Zambia finally got the breakthrough in the 20th minute when Daka struck into the top left corner from an acute angle.
Chipolopolo continued to take the game to Zimbabwe and Alec Mudimu and Teenage Hadebe were forced to make a couple of vital clearances. The Ian Nakati’s right-wing proved to be the weakest link as Zambia used that channel to make their raids.
Nonetheless, the game went to the break in a stalemate.
Zambia resumed the play on high, forcing the Warriors to play deep and relied mostly on counter-attacks. Despite dominating and reaching near the goal on several occasions, the hosts never made any threatening attempt.
Billiat got his second goal of the day in the 79th minute against the run of play after Musona squared the ball to him and tapped it past the advancing keeper.
The goal proved to be a sucker punch on Zambia who had been attacking relentlessly in the second period.
The Warriors held on to their lead until the final whistle to pick up their first set of points in Group H.
They are now in second place with four points, two behind log leaders Algeria while Zambia are rooted at the bottom with zero points. Botswana lies in the third place.
Zambia XI: M. Chibwe, D. Malama, L. Chungu, K. Chongo, T. Mwape, N. Sinkala, E. Mwepu, E. Kangwa, A. Mulenga, P. Daka, J. Shonga.
Zim XI: E. Chipezeze, R. Pfumbidzai, T. Hadebe, I. Nekati, A. Mudimu, M. Nakamba, M. Munetsi, K. Billiat, O. Karuru, K. Mahachi, K. Musona.