Warriors advance

HARARE - Zimbabwe were yesterday held by continental minnows Mauritius but still managed to progress to the final qualifier of the African Nations Championships (Chan).

The Warriors, who won the first leg 3-0 last weekend, advance 4-1 in aggregate and will now face old nemesis Zambia.

Captain Masimba Mambare’s strike seven minutes before regulation time had seemed to ensure a home victory for the Warriors, but Winny Calambe’s 90th minute header saw Club M leave the Zimbabwean capital with their heads high.

Ian Gorowa’s men were were expected to run past lowly Mauritius, who lacked intensity for the better part of the 90 minutes.

Gorowa was in his first game in charge of Zimbabwe at home since replacing Klaus-Dieter Pagels two weeks ago.

The Warriors started the match purposefully with Peter Moyo, Devon Chafa and Masimba Mambare dictating the pace in midfield but they were guilty of resorting to long range effort, which did not trouble the islanders.

Warriors strikers Nelson Maziwisa, Tendai Ndoro and Milton Ncube were kept at bay by the big centre-back Dookee Denis.

After the match, Gorowa said he was happy with the result but had his reservations about his team’s performance.

“We lacked the killer punch in attack,” said the former Zimbabwe forward.

“I have said this before that you have to make it a habit to try and play without conceding and I think we were naïve to let in that goal in the end. I think it’s our mind-set that just needs to change otherwise we had a good game. I am happy with the result but obviously a bit disappointed with the performance.”

Mauritius started the match on the front foot and found their chance in the opening two minutes with Guiyano Chiffone’s free kick going just wide of Tafadzwa Dube’s goal.

As the game progressed, Zimbabwe started to find some rhythm and impressive Mambare made the Warriors’ first inroad in the 10th minutes after a fine run that saw him leave Christopher Bazerque sprawling before being brought down inside the box by Cedrel Permal.

But referee Samuel Chiridza saw it differently and booked Mambare for diving.

A few moments later, Calambe was gifted with a glorious chance to thrust Club M into the lead after a defensive mix-up between Partson Jaure and Hardlife Zvirekwi left him with only Dube to beat.

But the Mauritius striker went for power instead of placement and ended up side-netting.

The Warriors went on to enjoy the lion’s share of possession as well as territorial advantage but never really made any meaning shots at goal to trouble Mauritius goalkeeper Marse Jose.

As the game teetered to an end Mambare finally broke the deadlock after receiving Tawanda Muparati’s through ball and firing his effort past Jose from the edge of the box.

But with the Warriors pouring men forward in attack, they were left exposed at the back.

Mauritius took full advantage through Stephane Pierre’s cross, headed home by an unmarked Calambe to draw the scores level.

TEAMS

ZIMBABWE: Tafadzwa Dube, Eric Chipeta, Peter Moyo (Ali Sadiki, 73min), Hardlife Zvirekwi, Devon Chafa, Masimba Mambare, Milton Ncube (Tendai Ndoro, 57m), Charles Sibanda (Tawanda Muparati, 45m), Blessing Chimwamuchere, Nelson Maziwisa.

MAURITIUS: Marse Jose, Colin Bell, Guiyano Chiffone (Angelo Coco, 75m), Hendrol Buckland (Denis Dookee, 46m), Chandarayah Veeraneh, Fabrice Pithia (Andy Patate, 46m), Cedrel Permal, Joye Estazie, Stephane Pierre, Christopher Barzerque, Winny Calambe.

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