Zimbabwe faces an uphill battle to qualify for this year's African Women Championship finals in Equatorial Guinea after losing 2-0 at home to African champions Nigeria.
The host fell to goals in each half from Evelyn Nwabuiku and Stella Mbachu in a match played at Harare's Rufaro Stadium.
The home side showed that they are narrowing the gap between themselves and the continent's top ranked team, matching them for the greater part of the game.
The Nigerians were sharper in attack and used their accumulated experience to win the match. The chances Zimbabwe crafted were largely thwarted by Nigeria captain and goalkeeper Precious Dede who had an outstanding game. Equally busy was the opposite goalkeeper in Onai Chingawo who did well to restrict the Nigerians to only two goals.
Kadiri Ikhana , the Nigeria coach spoke of his satisfaction in beating a competitive Zimbabwean side saying they intend to finish the job back in Nigeria in a fortnight's time.
His counterpart Rosemary Mugadza while pleased that her girls had stood toe to toe with Nigeria lamented the missed chances but vowed to continue fighting to qualify for the finals.