Zimbabwe . . . . . . (0) 1
Mauritius . . . . . . (0) 1
(Zimbabwe win 4-1 on aggregate)
AN uninspiring performance by Ian Gorowa’s team, on the coach’s homecoming show, saw the Warriors battling to a 1-1 draw against Mauritius at Rufaro Stadium yesterday to go through to the final qualifying round of the African Nations Championships (Chan)Carrying a 3-0 from the first leg, the Warriors qualified to the next round on a 4-1 aggregate scoreline.
Zimbabwe will now meet old foes Zambia in the final round in a repeat of last month’s Cosafa Castle Cup final.
The Warriors will host Chipolopolo in Harare first before travelling to Lusaka for the decisive match.
Masimba Mambare, who was captaining the host team, appeared to have given his team the winner when his angled shot beat Mauritius goalkeeper Marse Jorge after 83 minutes, but Winny Calampe equalised on 90th minute with a freak headed goal.
In his post-match analysis, Gorowa said: “We created a lot of chances, but we lacked that killer punch in front of goal otherwise the build-up and everything was OK.
“We started really slow and gradually we got into the game and controlled possession and we should have scored a lot of goals. To be honest, I am happy with the boys on the fact that we have gone through, but obviously a bit disappointed that we could not win the game in front of our supporters.
He added: “Playing Zambia (at home first) is an advantage for us. The one thing that I have observed is that we play better away. We played much better against Mauritius in Mauritius and we could have scored six, seven goals. Playing at home, I think there was a bit of some pressure.”
Mauritius team manager Berlen Sangayen said: “The players work and play football at the same time. Our league is semi-professional and we are happy with the result we got here. We came here to make a mark. We were expecting a draw and we got it. In the home game it was raining and we didn’t have a good match.
We are happy with a result today. It was a good match.”
The Warriors began the game with confidence, dominating possession and playing intricate passes, but it was the visitors who could have taken the lead as early as the second minute when Guiyano Chiffane’s free-kick went just wide. On eight minutes, Mambare made a good run into the opposition box and went down under a challenge, but Mozambican referee Samuel Chirinda booked the Highlanders midfielder for simulation.
Moments later, Calampe had a sight on goal following a Warriors defensive blunder, but the striker dragged his shot horribly wide.
Some fine interchanges involving Mambare, Peter Moyo and Milton Ncube released Nelson Mazivisa who bungled his shot.
The Warriors continued to create chances with debutant Blessing Chimwamuchere trying his luck from range while Hardlife Zvirekwi also shot wide after getting to the end of a Mazivisa pass.
However, the best chance of the first half would fall on Mazivisa on the 32nd minute when the FC Platinum striker roasted a defender to create space for himself inside the penalty area but scooped his effort over. Moyo would then wriggle his way into the box a minute later, but shot straight at the grateful goalkeeper. Charles Sibanda was just a yard late for a Mambare cross on the 42nd minute, as chances continued to fall for the Warriors.
Gorowa made a half-time change, withdrawing Sibanda for Tawanda Muparati, but the Warriors took time to find their rhythm.
On 63rd minute, Mambare’s shot following a corner-kick was blocked before substitute Tendai Ndoro and Mazivisa got into each other’s way when a loose ball had landed invitingly in the box.
Muparati then volleyed over as frustration began to show in the Warriors side and Ndoro’s sharp turn yielded nothing.
Then came the breakthrough when another substitute Ali Sadiki who had brought some life into the Warriors attack, escaped on the left, but his cross was blocked by a defender and the ball fell on Muparati to lay for Mambare who fired home through the legs of the goalkeeper. With the match dragging towards the end, the troublesome Stephane Pierre beat Erick Chipeta before crossing the ball for Calampe whose header hit the nets off the upright.
Zimbabwe: T Dube, P Jaure, E Chipeta, B Chimwamuchere, H Zvirekwi, D Chafa, M Mambare, P Moyo (A Sadiki, 73rd min), C Sibanda (T Muparati 46th min), M Ncube (T Ndoro, 58th min), N Maziwisa.
Mauritius: M Jorge, B Colin, G Chiffane (C Angelo, 72nd min), B Hendreck (D Dooke, 46th min), P Fabrice (A Patate, 46th min), V Chandrayah, P Jean, E Joye, P Stephane, B Christopher, W Calampe.