Warriors thump Sihlangu

HARARE - Warriors coach Calisto Pasuwa saluted his troops after turning on the heat in the second half to convincingly thump a stubborn Swaziland in an 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Cup qualifier here yesterday.

In a lively encounter before a decent and appreciative crowd, the Warriors were simply too powerful for Sihlangu and were barely troubled by the visitors.

Warriors did not disappoint, with goals from Knowledge Musona, Costa Nhamoinesu, Evans Rusike and Khama Billiat, ensuring Pasuwa’s charges seize control of Group L.

Following a disappointing 1-1 draw in Mbababe on Good Friday in the reverse fixture, Pasuwa made five changes and chose to start with Kuda Mahachi, Nyasha Mushekwi and Marshal Mudehwe upfront while keeping Khama Billiat on the bench.

Hardlife Zvirekwi got the nod ahead of Eric Chipeta while Vitesse midfielder Marvelous Nakamba started in the midfield where he justified his inclusion with a good outing.

The result saw Warriors assuming top spot in Group L with eight points from four matches while pushing Swaziland to second place. Malawi and Guinea who also make up the Group with two points apiece kick off today’s Afcon qualifiers in Malawi this afternoon..

Pasuwa was happy with the response from his players following a hectic Easter schedule.

“This is the result that we were looking for and it came at the right time,” Pasuwa said after the match.

“Credit must go to the players for the effort they put especially considering we had a difficult schedule”.

Warriors showed their intent from the first whistle playing with urgency but could not unlock the Swaziland defence. And despite their dominance the Warriors were almost caught unaware when Swaziland hit the back of the net in the 24th minute although the effort was correctly disallowed for offside.

The complexion of the game quickly shifted after the break when Pasuwa introduced Billiat in place of Mudehwe and the Mamelodi Sundowns winger made an instant impact causing a lot of problems for Swaziland.

Mahachi was brought down inside the box leaving the referee with no option but to point to the spot. Musona stepped up to take the resultant kick sending Swaziland goalkeeper the wrong side with a cheeky penalty to open the floodgates.

Nhamoinesu doubled Warriors’ lead when he headed home a Billiat free-lick from the right side.

Evans Rusike, who had earlier replaced Mushwekwi found himself on the scoresheet with his first touch. Swaziland’s attempt to defend saw the ball bounce off the Maritzburg United striker for a third. 

Billiat wrapped up the win with a well-taken shot from just inside the box.

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