Makore sinks Shepolopolo

Zimbabwe....................(1) 1

HARARE - Spain-based forward Rutendo "Madzimai" Makore made a scoring return to international duty when she fired the Mighty Warriors to victory over Zambia in the first leg of the 2018 Awcon final qualifier at Nkoloma Stadium, Lusaka yesterday.

The Sporting de Huelva forward had missed the Mighty Warriors first round clash with Namibia due to injury in April.

However, Makore was available for yesterday’s tie and she showed her true prowess by scoring the all-important away goal for Sithethelelwe “Kwinji 15” Sibanda’s side in the 19th minute.

Makore pounced to give the Mighty Warriors the lead after Shepolopolo defender Anita Mulenga’s error before firing in a powerful shot that beat goalkeeper Hazel Nali.

After going behind, the home side almost found the equaliser four minutes later when a well-taken free kick by Lweendo Chisamu crashed against the cross bar.

Shepolopolo had another chance to level the scores but Mary Mwakapila’s long range shot went just wide after a good link up play with Misozi Zulu two minutes before the break.

In the second period, Zambia continued to push hard for a equaliser but were denied by the cross bar again.

This time it was Zulu’s effort from the edge of the box that crashed against the woodwork in the 60th minute.

Moments later, Zimbabwe survived by a whisker when Rhoda Chileshe’s effort following a goalmouth scramble was cleared off the line by the desperate Mighty Warriors defenders.

Makore could have doubled the Mighty Warriors lead 15 minutes from time but she shot tamely straight into Nali’s hands.

Sibanda was pleased that her charges were able to protect their lead despite the pressure from the home side and hopes they can finish the job this coming Sunday in the second leg at Rufaro Stadium in Harare.

“It is always a tight game with Zambia and we really struggled throughout the game but what matters is carrying a win back home,” she said.

“Zambia were the better team but we still have another 90 minutes to play which will determine who qualifies.”

Zambia coach Bruce Mwape said: “We created a lot of chances but failed to convert them and Zimbabwe capitalised on the single mistake we made in defence.”

If the Mighty Warriors can protect their lead this weekend at Rufaro Stadium, they will qualify for the 2018 Awcon finals set for Ghana later in November and December.

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