Murimba inspires Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe.........(1) 2
Botswana...........(1) 1

HARARE - Zimbabwe began their 2018 Cosafa Under-20 Championship campaign with a hard-fought win over Botswana with Delic Murimba scoring a brace at the Nkana Stadium in Kitwe, Zambia yesterday.

The Young Warriors had the perfect start to Group C when Murimba opened the scoring just after two minutes.

The Triangle United forward provided a side-footed finish to the far post from inside the box following a good move by the Young Warriors on the right side.

Despite the early lead, Zimbabwe failed to add to the scoreline as they went onto create numerous scoring chances.

Bhekithemba Ndlovu’s side was punished for their poor finishing when the Young Zebras equalised right on the stroke of halftime through Resabaoka Thatanyane.

The Botswana forward got behind the Zimbabwe defence before firing in a rising shot that beat goalkeeper Issah Ali.

In the second period, both teams threw men forward as they searched for the winning goal.

The Young warriors finally got their second when Murimba completed his brace in the 72nd minute.

Substitute Clive Rupiya went behind the Botswana defence and rounded off the goalkeeper before cutting back to the penalty spot.

Murimba, who was duly voted man-of-the-match, was there to pass the ball into the empty net but was unfortunately injured in the process and could not finish the game.      
Zimbabwe held on for the three points and went top of Group C that also has Angola and Lesotho, who played out a 1-1 draw on Sunday.

Ndlovu was delighted with his team’s performance after the game.

“I think the boys really played very well and they put up a very good display. It was a really good effort from the boys and I thank them for the display,” he said.

“We talked with them before this game or the start of this tournament that, ‘Goals will win us game’. I think that the two goals were enough for us to win the game but I think we created a lot of clear cut scoring chances that we missed.

“Goals will take us to the next round and I’m happy for the boys for scoring two goals today.

“Last year we only managed to score one goal in three games but this year we now already have two goals in one game so I think it’s an improvement. But again, we are conceding and we need to improve on our defending.

The former Warriors defender felt that the win over Botswana would give his side a good chance of progressing to the last four of the tournament. 

“In the dressing room we told them that we need to win this game in order to progress to the next round. Our target is to do better than last time so we need to go to the semi-finals,” he said.

“The only way we can do that is to score goals, keep a clean sheet and win games.”

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