Zimbabwe and South Africa played to a goalless draw in the opening encounter of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, Group G, at the National Sports Stadium in Harare on Friday.
The Warriors missed several key players in the match and had to use a makeshift defence with Onismor Bhasera playing as a centre back along an unfit Alec Mudimu.
The visitors controlled the opening moments of the game and got their first real chance on the eighth minute with Evidence Makgopa’s header going over.
Teboho Mokoena followed ten minutes later, and his long-range strike almost found its way into the back of the net, but goalkeeper Talbert Shumba went airborne to tip the ball away for a corner kick.
The Warriors, on the other end, only started to turn up the heat on the half-hour mark with Khama Billiat coming close to break the deadlock. His shot on goal, however, was tipped away by goalkeeper Ronwen Williams.
Marshall Munetsi, who had an outstanding afternoon, followed up with a couple of attempts but his effort`s failed to reach the target. Captain Knowledge Musona also made some threats, but nothing came out of it.
The momentum, however, didn’t last long, and Zimbabwe found themselves struggling again to maintain the possession during transitions.
The match went to the break with both teams tied in goalless.
The second half had a quiet start except for the moment when Shumba almost gave away the ball inside the box after receiving a back pass from Mudimu.
Coach Zdravko Logarusic looked to improve his side and made a double change towards the hour mark, bringing in Terrence Dzvukamanja for injured Tino Kadewere while Tafadzwa Rusike replaced Kuda Mahachi.
However, nothing changed with Zimbabwe continuing to lose the ball during their transitions.
Bafana Bafana, on the other end, relied mostly on their right flank and caused a lot of problems for Divine Lunga.
They almost scored from that side only for Takudzwa Chimwemwe to save the day with a well-timed off-the-line clearance after Shumba made a blunder.
The scoreline remained unchanged as both teams shared the spoils.
Zimbabwe will travel to Ethiopia for their second match of Group G on Tuesday while South Africa will host Ghana in Jo’burg.