The Warriors bounced back from a disappointing goalless draw versus Botswana by beating Zambia 1-2 at Heroes Stadium in Lusaka on 19 November to go second in Group H of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Skipper Knowledge Musona created both goals for Khama Billiat, the first a looping header which went in off the underside of the cross bar and the second a layoff which left two defenders sprawling on the turf.
Billiat opened the scoring in the 10th minute to cap off a strong and menacing start by the Warriors and a nervy one for Chipolopolo.
Only ten minutes had passed when pacey Patson Daka even the scores after outpacing Alec Mudimu before unleashing a rocket into the top right corner of Elvis Chipezeze’s goal.
The home team finished the first half strongly and continued its dominance in the second half forcing Zimbabwe to concede several corner kicks while Chipezeze had to put in an extra shift.
As the half wore on, the Warriors began to venture forward on the break, creating two chances before Billiat converted the third one to give Zimbabwe a 1-2 lead in the 80th minute.
While the coach of Zambia, Munamba Numba rued missed opportunities in his side’s second defeat in six days, Joseph Antipas reveled in the potency of his counter attacking strategy.
“Had we converted the chances that we created I think we could have made a difference. Generally, the team played well,” Numba lamented.
“Against Zambia it was more of an open game and our strategy worked with the counter attack because we have got speedy and skillful players in attack.
“[In] the second half we changed our formation because in the first half we set up sort of defensive[ly] with a false 9 which created a lot of problems for Zambia and our counter attacking was excellent,” said Antipas.
Zambia lost 5-0 to Algeria on 14 November and the defeat to the Warriors affirms Chipolopolo as the bottom side of Group H which is topped by reigning Champions Algeria.
Algeria have a 100% record so far having also won 0-1 against Botswana.
With two matches gone, the Warriors are sitting pretty on the log but back to back ties against Algeria in September 2020 will be crucial.
Elvis Chipezeze, Knowledge Musona © (Partson Jaure), Ian Nekati, Teenage Hadebe, Alec Mudimu, Ronald Pfumbidzai, Marshall Munetsi, Marvelous Nakamba (Butholezwe Ncube), Ovidy Karuru, Khama Billiat, Kudakwashe Mahachi (Prince Dube): Zimbabwe Football Association