KNOWLEDGE Musona scored a beautiful leveller, as wasteful Warriors recovered from a horrendous mistake by goalkeeper Washington Arubi to secure a point against a plucky Guinea in the African Cup of Nations qualifier before a heaving Rufaro Stadium on Sunday.
Zimbabwe . . . . . (1) 1
Guinea . . . . . . . . (1)
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
Despite the setback yesterday, the Warriors have the same number of points as Swaziland, who lead the group because they have scored more goals than Zimbabwe.
Swaziland were held by the Flames of Malawi to a 2-2 draw.
The stage had been set for the Warriors to thrust their fans into throes of ecstasy, as there was a lot of optimism, but not long after kickoff, disaster struck and the feeling was that the full house would be left in despair.
Somehow, and nobody is yet to figure out how, Arubi presented a neatly wrapped gift to the hosts, exactly what they needed.
And Belgium-based Idrissa Sylla would not make a mistake, profiting from the veteran goalkeeper’s failed control from a Danny Phiri back pass, for a simple tap-in.
That goal deflated the Warriors, for a short while though, as they regrouped and started to assert authority.
Musona gave Zimbabwe hope with some dangerous runs on the right side, but somehow failed to find the back of the net.
On 15 minutes, he blazed his effort over the bar after beating Sylla Isga on the right side.
Four minutes later, Nyasha Mushekwi struck the post with a header as Zimbabwe pressed forward.
Their persistence paid off on 34 minutes as Musona exhibited his brilliance, beating an offside trap before poking the ball into the bottom corner with the Guinea defence guilty of ball-watching.
In the second half, Zimbabwe looked determined to wrap up the three points as they won most of the battles in midfield with Willard Katsande and Phiri combining well to thwart most of the Guinea moves.
Warriors coach Kalisto Pasuwa then pulled off Mushekwi, who failed to impose himself in his return for the Warriors for Mathew Rusike and then pushed Cuthbert Malajila upfront.
But the Mamelodi Sundowns man squandered a golden opportunity on 70 minutes, as he missed a free header from a wonderful Rusike corner kick.
Guinea also had a good chance on 72 minutes, but Diarra Mohammed missed with a wild effort from a delivery by Bangoura Alhassane .
The Warriors continued to launch some raids in their opponents’ goal towards the end, but the visitors remained resolute in defence to hold on for a point.
Pasuwa said afterwards his players gave a decent show.
“I thought it was a decent show. We didn’t start well, but there was cohesion as the game progressed despite conceding an early goal. Anyway, it’s all part of the game. Going forward we need to prepare well,” Pasuwa said.
The match was also attended by former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his wife Elizabeth Macheka, among other high ranking officials.
Zimbabwe: W Arubi, M Ncube, C Nhamoinesu, P Jaure, E Chipeta, W Katsande, D Phiri, K Musona, C Malajila, N Mushekwi (M Rusike 69th), K Billiat (K Mahachi)
Guinea; Y Maoussa, P Florentin, S Issiaga, F Camara, S Ousman, B Alhassane (B Allonally 70th), D Mohammed, C Laufia (K Sekou), F Boubacar, S Seydouba
Source : NewsDayZimbabwe