Afcon bound-Warriors end qualifying run with defeat to Zambia

Zimbabwe ended their run in the 2021 Afcon Qualifiers with a 2-0 home defeat to Zambia on Monday.

The Warriors, who had already secured a spot at next year’s tournament, finished the campaign in the second place on eight points, six behind leaders Algeria.

Chipolopolo moved to seven and took the third position while Botswana ended the qualifiers as Group H’s bottom team.

Coach Zdravko made eight changes in his team with Onismor Bhasera, Ovidy Karuru and Takudzwa Chimwemwe starting as the only players who were in first XI in Botswana on Thursday.

Zambia, on the hand, fielded a full strength side composed of their Europe-based trio of Patson Daka, Enock Mwepu and Lubambo Musonda.

Daka scored both goals for Chipolopolo, netting his first of the day in the 21st minute before sealing the victory with a late strike on the stroke of fulltime.

Match Report 

Zambia put an early pressure and controlled the pace in the opening minutes.

The Warriors, on the other end, started to come alive later on and got their first taste on goal towards the quarter hour mark but Evans Rusike failed to beat the advancing goalkeeper.

The momentum quickly swung back to the visitors’ side as Enock Mwepu weighed heavy in the midfield. They got their opener on minute 21 through Daka who capitalised on a poor communication in the home team’s backline.

Zimbabwe tried to come back in the game, but were not quick in their transitions and never created any meaningful attack in the remaining part of the first half.

Chipolopolo could have added another goal early in the second half after Victor Kamhuka was caught off-guard. However, Clatous Chama’s effort missed the target by just inches.

Nothing changed on the Warriors’ end as they remained at bay until the 71st-minute when Tafadzwa Rusike’s shot on target went just a little over.

The visitors responded a few moments later and got the ball into the back of the net but Daka’s effort was flagged offside.

Nonetheless, the RB Salzburg striker completed his brace on the stroke of fulltime as Zambia grabbed the bragging rights in the Battle of Zambezi.



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