22 March 2018

Zimbabwe: Warriors in Agonising Loss

A battling Zimbabwe twice let slip their lead before paying dearly when they fell in the penalty lottery in a Four-Nation Invitational tournament semi-final clash against hosts Zambia at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola last night.

The Warriors will now face Angola in a third-place play off tomorrow after the Palancas Negras also fell to South Africa via a penalty shoot-out following a 1-1 draw in an earlier match while Chipolopolo renew their rivalry with Bafana Bafana .

An own goal by Chipolopolo defender Isaac Shamujompa had given the Warriors just the kind of start they needed to the second period after a goalless first half.

That lead lasted 19 minutes before the hosts levelled through Orlando Pirates striker Justin Shonga.

Speedy Baroka winger Talent Chawapiwa then rose from the bench to restore the Warriors lead in the 73rd minute, but somehow the Zambians found their way back again by breaching George Chigova's goal for the second time when Lazarus Kambole brought them level three minutes into time added on to set the stage for penalties to decide the tie.

Yet Chigova, who plays for Polokwane City, had earlier pulled off a fine save off Pirates' Augustine Mulenga.

The Warriors were, however, not as precise in the lottery missing twice from the penalty spot.

Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambwa handed starts to the debutant quartet of Cliff Moyo, Adam Chicksen, Alec Mudimu and Marshal Munetsi while another newboy Butholezwe Ncube started on the bench.

But at the end of business in Ndola last night, it was the hosts who had avenged for their 3-1 defeat by the Warriors in the 2017 COSAFA Castle Cup final in South Africa.

Following a bright start by the hosts, Shonga came close to opening the scoring when his attempt hit the side-netting after he was released by Enock Mwepu in the 17th minute.

Wedson Nyirenda's men then protested for a spot kick after Mwepu was pushed to the ground inside the penalty box, but the referee did not entertain the shouts as he waved play on.

Against the run of play before the half-hour mark, the Warriors forced their way into the box and Tinotenda Kadewere was denied by Zambia goalkeeper, Toaster Nsabata, from close range to concede a corner.

The 2012 African champions continued probing and Shonga lobbed the ball over Chigova in the 36th minute, but his effort sailed wide.

However, a minute into the second stanza saw the Warriors grabbing the lead when Rusike forced an error from Isaac Shamujompa, who directed the ball into his own net.

The hosts would level the matters four minutes after the hour mark when Shonga beat Chigova with a low shot, 1-1 and game on in Ndola.

Chidzambwa made changes and introduced Chawapiwa for Silas Songani and the former made an immediate impact to restore Zimbabwe's lead in the 73rd minute.

In the earlier game Bafana Bafana and Palancas Negras sides were tied after regulation time.

Teams:

Zambia: Toaster Nsabata, Solomon Sakala, Rodrick Kabwe, Ziyo Tembo (C), Isaac Shamujompa, Salulani Phiri, Augustine Mulenga, Enock Mwepu, Brian Mwila, Justin Shonga, Fashion Sakala

Zimbabwe: George Chigova; Teenage Hadebe, Cliff Moyo, Adam Chicksen, Marshall Munetsi, Alec Mudimu, Marvellous Nakamba, Ovidy Karuru, Silas Songani, Tinotenda Kadewere, Evans Rusike

Zambia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (0) 2

Zimbabwe . . . . . . . . . . . . . (0) 2

(Zambia won 5-4 on penalties)

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