Chigova inspires Zim. . . goalie saves three penalties

(Zimbabwe win 3-1 after a penalty shoot-out)

Zimbabwe goalkeeper George Chigova was the hero of the night yesterday after saving three penalties against Botswana to send the Warriors into the semi-finals of the Cosafa Castle Cup.

The match ended 1-1 after regulation time after striker Evans Rusike scored for the Warriors while Onkabetse Makgantai equalised for the Zebras.

Hosts South Africa were on the wrong end of a shoot-out result though as they were ousted from the competition by Madagascar, who triumphed 4-3 on penalties after their match finished 0-0.

It means the semi-final line-up is complete, with defending champions Zimbabwe to take on Lesotho, while Zambia will clash with Madagascar. Both of those matches will be played at the New Peter Mokaba Stadium on Wednesday.

Zimbabwe exerted all of the early pressure and took the lead on 39 minutes when Khama Billiat played Rusike in on goal and the forward smashed the ball into the top corner of the net.

But Botswana kept plugging away and equalised on the hour-mark as Makgantai moved to the top of the competition’s scorers’ charts with his fourth goal of the 2018 Cosafa Cup.

This time he guided a header into the far post and the ball just trickled out of Chigova’s reach.

And the Zebras had a superb chance to take a shock lead when substitute Tumisang Orebonye received the ball 12 yards out, but with the Chigova out of position and the goal at his mercy, he put his shot over the bar.

The match went to a shoot-out and Chigova, playing on his home ground with club side Polokwane City, proved the hero for the Warriors.

The Zimbabwe national team won their fifth title in the 17th edition of the Cosafa Cup, beating  Zambia by 3-1 with goals from Knox Mutizwa, Talent Chawapiwa, and Ocean Mushure.

The Zambian side’s goal was scored by Lubinda Mundia in the 38th minute.

In the aftermath of the 17 editions so far, Zambia and South Africa are the teams that have won the competition more times (4), followed by Angola with three achievements.

Today will be a rest day in the competition, but South Africa will be back in action against Namibia in their Plate semi-final at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium tomorrow.

Botswana will clash with Swaziland in the other Plate semi-final.

Thus, the Malagasy face Zambia on Wednesday, who beat Namibia 4-3 in a penalty shoot-out yesterday.

Zimbabwe will face Lesotho at New Peter Mokaba at 19.30.

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