New Zimbabwe (London)

Zimbabwe/Mali: Brilliant Mahachi Seals Warriors Semis Spot

Photo: CAF
Warriors defender gave Malian defenders a hard time

KUDAKWASHE Mahachi sailed past four defenders to score a brilliant winner as Zimbabwe trounced favourites Mali to book their place in the semi-finals of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) on Saturday.

In front of a large Zimbabwean crowd, the gifted left-footed Mahachi danced his way into the Mali box eleven minutes into the second half before firing his shot past hapless Diakite in goals for Mali.

Zimbabwe came into this quarterfinal clash without conceding a single goal in their last three matches of the 2014 Chan tournament. Mali's Ibourahima Sidibe had a decent shot on target inside the opening three minutes of the game, but George Chigova went down nicely and made a comfortable save.

The Warriors then took the lead in the 11th minute when Simba Sithole beat Souleymane Konate for pace before firing a low shot past Mali goalkeeper Soumaila Diakite.

On 24 minutes, Diakite produced a brilliant save to deny Zimbabwe their second of the night from Peter Moyo's long range shot.

Zimbabwe continued to pile more pressure on their opponents, but they couldn't double their lead in the first 45 minutes, as Diakite often kept them at bay.

Lassana Diarra wasted a glorious chance to level matters on the stroke of halftime when he powerfully struck his shot over the crossbar to the frustration of the Mali's bench.

Ian Gorowa's charges woke up in the second half, and they shocked the Eagles with the second goal in the 55th minute when Kudakwashe Mahachi sliced past four Malian defenders before slotting it home.

The Zimbabwean midfield controlled the game, but Mali didn't give up on getting themselves on the score sheet.

However, Mali's real chance of the second half came after the 75th minute when Hamidou Sinayoko's attempted shot wide, with intentions very clear that he wanted to 'kill' the Warriors keeper Chigova.

Diakite produced yet another superb save in the 84th minute when he pushed Masimba Mambare's rocket out for a corner in what would have been curtains for Mali.

Mali should have pulled one back in the 88th minute, but Sinayoko's low shot was brilliantly blocked by Chigova for a corner. However, Sinayoko converted from the resultant corner to make it 2-1.

Nonetheless, Zimbabwe held on to their slim lead as they marched on to the last four of the 2014 Chan tournament in South Africa.

LINE-UPS

Zimbabwe: George Chigova, Hardlife Zvirekwi, Eric Chipeta, Partson Jaure, Milton Ncube, Masimba Mambare, Peter Moyo, Danny Phiri, Kuda Mahachi, Simba Sithole, Charles Sibanda

Mali: Soumaila Diakite, Souleymane Konate, Ousmane Keita, Oumar Kone, Ibourahima Sidibe, Yaya Samake, Hamidou Sinayoko, Adama Traore, Cheikh Doumbia, Abdoulaye Sissoko, Issaka Samake

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