Warriors dream shattered

HARARE - Zimbabwe were dealt massive blow yesterday when the Warriors failed to qualify for next year’s African Nations Cup finals after going down to a Manucho-inspired yesterday.

Former Manchester United forward Manucho scored twice inside the opening seven minutes to help Angola overturn the 3-1 defeat they suffered at Rufaro Stadium last month.

The tie ended 3-3 on aggregate, but Angola qualified for South Africa on away goals rule courtesy of Djalma’s strike in Harare at Rufaro Stadium on September 9.

Warriors coach Rahman Gumbo admitted that the tie was lost in the first leg when they allowed Djalma to score the crucial away goal.

“We lost it in Harare when we won 3-1 at home,” Gumbo said. “When we allowed them to score that one goal at home, that was the turning point.”

Warriors stand-in captain Esrom Nyandoro said: “I’m disappointed to tell you the truth. We lacked experience in those opening minutes but you can’t kill the boys. They did their best under these conditions.”

 Zimbabwe lacked any kind of conviction in the opening seven minutes as Angola forced three corners straight from kick-off.

It was from one of these set pieces that the Palancas Negras got the breakthrough they needed when Manucho headed home Mateus’ corner kick just after four minutes.

Zimbabwe exhibited some poor marking inside the box when the corner was taken.

Manucho was always going to be a dangerman at set pieces and the Warriors defence should have doubled up on the Valladolid man.

The former Manchester United forward got ahead of his marker and his powerful downward header beat Warriors goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda.

It was a dream start for the Angolans as the entire Zimbabwe team found itself at sixes and sevens.

There was absolutely no difference between the defence, midfield or attack. The Warriors were literally running all over the field.

Angola were firmly in the driving seat when Manucho got the second with a diving header past Sibanda inside three minutes.

This time, the Warriors were unlocked by the pace of Djalma on the left side as he left Noel Kaseke for dead.

Djalma, who scored Angola’s away goal in Harare, whipped a pin-point cross towards Manucho,  gliding between Zimbabwe’s centre backs Esrom Nyandoro and Carlington Nyadombo.

Manucho is deadly from such close range. His diving header hit the top of the net.

Zimbabwe started to come out of their shell with Khama Billiat and Archieford Gutu in their efforts to find an opening for Knowledge Musona and Cuthbert Malajila.

In the 14th minute, Malajila should have pulled one back for Zimbabwe after Billiat beat his marker on the left before sending in a wicked cross to the Maritzburg man.

Malajila was however a shed to slow, failing to connect with Billiat’s cross at the back post.

A minute later, Musona came close of scoring when he forced a good save at the near post from Angolan keeper Lama.

Zimbabwe’s main problem in the opening half was in midfield where Tinashe Nengomasha and Vusa Nyoni were struggling to cope with the Angolans.

Malajila and Musona were starved of a clean supply, leaving Palancas Negras goalkeeper Lama with little to do.

At the start of the second half, Gumbo pulled out Nyoni and introduced Kingstone Nkatha to add more attackers.

The Warriors started to play better in that second half but the Angolans were two goals to the good and could afford to sit back.

With the three attackers on the pitch, there was still some hope as a single goal was going to get Zimbabwe back in the game.

Try hard as they could, but there was no way back for Zimbabwe as the Angola defence was always quick to clear the danger.

As the match progressed, the Palancas Nengras players started to go down easily to con the Kenyan referee Sylvester Kirwa, who was failed to stop their play acting.

Gutu, Nkatha and substitute Edward Sadomba were at the end of a few half chances.


Angola: Lama, Lunginho, Danny, Kuvuvu, Dede (Manuel, 69min), Djalma (Mingo Bilic 76min), Manucho, Zuela (Bastos, 21 min), Miguel, Pirolito, Mateus.

Zimbabwe: Arial Sibanda, Noel Kaseke, Esrom Nyandoro, Carlington Nyadombo, Onsimor Bhasera, Vusa Nyoni (Knigstone Nkatha 46min), Tinashe Nengomasha, Achieford Gutu, Knowledge Musona (Denver Mukamba, 90min), Khama Billiat, Cuthbert Malajila (Edward Sadomba, 67min). - Nigel Matongorere in LUANDA, Angola

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