ZIMBABWE are on course to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Cosafa Cup after they drew nil-all with Madagascar at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace last night, a result that keeps them top of Group B.
ZIMBABWE . . . . . . 0
MADAGASCAR . . . . . 0
BY HENRY MHARA IN RUSTENBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
The Warriors have four points, the same number as their last night’s opponents, but Sunday Chidzambwa’s men have a better goal difference of four, against Madagascar’s two.
Zimbabwe, after their comprehensive win in their opening match on Monday, could have made their chances of qualifying to the next stages better with another victory here, but after the draw, they will now have to wait for the last round of matches tomorrow.
They play against a beatable Seychelles in the final match and will be hoping that Mozambique get a result against Madagascar.
Warriors assistant coach Bongani Mafu said his team were denied a win by the referee, who twice waved away as many penalty appeals, when substitute Raphael Manuvire and Ovidy Karuru were brought down inside the box late in the match.
“It was a gruelling match which had two teams that went at each other at high speed. We managed to absorb the pressure when they came at us and also played balls behind their defence,” he said.
“The goals never came, but we had opportunities that we think we should have got from the referee. I thought Karuru was on the ball and the goalkeeper felled him. You get those normally.”
Chidzambwa made one change to the team that beat Mozambique 4-0 on Monday, bringing in Blessing Majarira
Majarira, who scored Zimbabwe’s fourth goal, was rewarded with a start ahead of Knox Mutizwa.
The Herentals man got the match’s first real chance when he was released by Karuru in the 20th minute, but instead of squaring the ball to Talent Chawapiwa for an easy tap-in, he chose to go for glory from a tight angle and ended up hitting the side netting.
Moments later, Leeroy Mavunga shot straight at the keeper, Jean Leda, as Zimbabwe appeared to have weathered the early Malagasy storm.
Madagascar had all the possession in the first half, but never really troubled George Chigova’s goal, with their only attempt a potshot by their star man Andriamirado Dax in the 40th minute.
Zimbabwe’s best chance arrived in the 52nd minute when Mavunga released Ocean Mushure on the left channel and the wingback delivered a perfect cross that Karuru headed straight at the keeper from close range.
Mushure had an opportunity when his team was awarded a free kick, but his curling effort was palmed away by Leda.
Chidzambwa’s men had two big shouts for penalties late on, after Manuvure was felled before Karuru was taken out by the goalkeeper in a one-on-one situation.
On both occasions, referee Joshua Bondo waved play on.
The Warriors also had decent chances late on, but couldn’t make them count.
Pointless Seychelles and Mozambique were due to play each other later last night.
Zimbabwe: G Chigova, O Mushure, E Chipeta, J Mukombwe (B Homora, 46′), J Tigere, L Chakoroma, G Takwara, T Chawapiwa (R Manuvire, 79′), L Mavunga, O Karuru (C), B Majarira (K Mutizwa, 47′)
Madagascar: J Leda, A Johny, A Andoniaina, A Tantely, N Tobiaso, M Ando, J Lolode, J Boura (R Ndrantoharilala, 75′), A Dax, R Rinjala, S Nono (F Tojo, 65′)