HARARE - Harare City were outclassed 2-1 by Zambian side Zanaco, in the first leg of their African Confederation Cup first round encounter here yesterday.
Zanaco, who reached the quarter-finals of the competition in 2010, dominated proceedings early in the match and it was no surprise when they opened the scoring in the 35th minute through forward Aubrey Funga.
TUSSLE: Harare City’s Farai Madhanaga, right, fight for the ball against Zanaco defender George Chilufya during yesterday’s African Confederation Cup match at Rufaro Stadium. Pic: Freedom Mashava
The striker put the bankers into the lead when he headed Charles Zulu’s cross from the left to beat City goalkeeper Maxwell Nyamupanedengu.
The visitors got their second goal when midfielder Rodrick Kabwe scored with a well-taken free kick from outside the box seven minutes from time.
Second half substitute Ronald Ruzvidzo gave the Sunshine Boys some hope going into the second leg in Zambia on Sunday when he scored a consolation goal in added time.
Despite the huge task now waiting his side in the second leg, City coach Taurai Mangwiro is still hopeful they can overturn the deficit.
“Nothing is impossible in football, they came here and scored two goals and we can go there and do the same in Lusaka,” Mangwiro said.
“We went to sleep in the first half and when we woke up they had scored.
“The turning point was the second goal because at one-nil we could still come back and get an equaliser.”
With two away goals in the bag, Zanaco coach Mumamba Numba is now confident his side will seal their passage into the final qualifying round next weekend.
“I think we conceded a soft goal at the end. We could have kept it at two goals up but we take it as it is and work towards finishing the job back in Lusaka,” Numba said.
“We still have a big job to do; Harare City played good football, they are a good side and we still expect a tough battle at home.”
Zanaco, who are owned by the Zambia National Commercial Bank, imposed their game on the home side from the first whistle showing good transition from defence to attack which the hosts failed to match.
City had decent chances to score on the break but Raphael Manuvire and Ronald Chitiyo lacked composure in front of goal.
Zanaco capitalised on the missed chances as they took the lead through Funga after City were found wanting on the counter.
The exciting Zulu roasted City full back Arnold Chivheya on the left flank before sending in a pinpoint cross into the City box for Funga to head home.
At halftime, Mangwiro made a tactical change by bringing in William Manondo for Chivheya and dropped Farai Madhanaga to left back.
The change paid dividends as the hosts started making forays into the Zanaco territory.
Sensing danger, Numba threw in veterans Isaac Chansa and Boyd Musonda to neutralise the City attacks.
With City seemingly enjoying some momentum, the visitors increased their lead with Kabwe’s set piece.
Ruzvidzo, a late replacement for Manuvire, however, ensured the Sunshine Boys go to Lusaka with some glimmer of hope when he scored right at the death.
Harare City: Maxwell Nyamupanedengu, Anold Chiveya (William Manondo 45min), Farai Madhanaga, Raymond Uchena, Ronald Chitiyo, James Jam, Raphael Manuvire (Ronald Ruzvidzo 89min), Tendai Samanja, Munyaradzi Diro, Kudakwashe Kumwala (Honey Chimutimunzeve (51 min), Themba Ndlovu
Zanaco: Racha Kola, Lee Ngoma (Saith Sakala 71min), Fackson Kapumbu, Ziyo Tembo, George Chilufya, Richard Kasonde, Charles Zulu, Salulani Phiri (Boyd Musonda (61min), Fashion Sakala (Isaac Chansa 47min), Aubrey Funga, Rodrick Kabwe.