Home » Sports » Warriors Move Closer to Quarter-Finals

DOMINANT Zimbabwe put one foot into the COSAFA Cup quarter-finals after a hard-fought win over a defensively-disciplined Seychelles in a Group A tie at Moruleng Stadium here last night.

The Warriors were frustrated for long periods on the night as the Indian Ocean minnows turned on a solid defending show for the second time in as many games in this competition.

It needed a fine strike from Harare City forward Talent Chawapihwa in the 53rd minute, to break the Seychelles resistance and ensure the Warriors retain their place at the top of the Group A standings.

Zimbabwe are the only team in the group with a 100 percent record.

But if they had found a relatively easier opening game against Mauritius, whom they beat 2-0, the Warriors were made to sweat for their victory last night as Seychelles put up the same kind of ultra-defensive style that worked for them in their 0-0 draw against Namibia.

While Zimbabwe caretaker coach Saul Chaminuka said although he was disappointed with the glut of chances that his team missed, he drew positives from the fact that they had managed not only to control the game but come out with a win.

Zimbabwe will wrap up their group assignments with a date against the Brave Warriors of Namibia at the same venue tomorrow.

Warriors goalkeeper George Chigova was untested on the night as Seychelles only managed a single shot on target and two corners against Zimbabwe’s eight.

In contrast Seychelles goalkeeper, Jose Euphrasie, had a busy night trying to repel the Zimbabwe attacks.

Chawapihwa, who with more precision could have, at least, come out with a brace was first denied by the upright from a fine shot struck on the run from about 20 metres out in the 26th minute.

He however, got it right seven minutes after the break when he finished a fine move started by Hardlife Zvirekwi and involving Ronald Chitiyo.

Chawapihwa received the ball from just outside the box, picked his spot and let go a low shot into the far corner of a diving Euphrasie.

Zimbabwe kept asking questions of the Seychelles defence but the Islanders stood resolute and were in no mood to allow the Warriors to come out with a thumping win.

Ironically, Chawapihwa only started the match because Chaminuka was forced to make just one change to the team that started against Mauritius with the former ZPC Kariba coach missing an injured Pritchard Mphelele.

“It has been quite a frustrating night. I knew about it and I had warned these players that Seychelles are very organised but I think we played well and patiently,” said Chaminuka.

“I am glad that our goal came early in the second half which eased the pressure on us and helped to open up Seychelles up a bit.

“It is unfortunate that we missed a lot chances yet for so many times we went behind them. We are not leaving anything to chance and we will have to keep working hard and polish our grey areas,” Chaminuka said.

Seychelles coach Ulric Mathiot was happy to have restricted the Warriors to just a narrow win.

Mathiot argued that Seychelles, with just a population of 2 500 registered players, were still trying to reach the playing levels of Zimbabwe and Namibia.

“We tend to play according to the players we have in our country. We are a small nation and we have resolved to build this team by ensuring that they fully understand how to defend.

“I think we are getting there and we now have to work on our transition when going forward. We are not yet at the level of playing to the same intensity that we have seen from Zimbabwe or Namibia but we remain positive that we are in the right direction,” Mathiot said.

The Warriors had a second player from as many games — Raphael Manuvire — named man-of-the-match after Chitiyo was voted the best player against Mauritius.

Manuvire who has dramatically recovered from a career-threatening injury was literally out of words as he cherished his award.

Teams

Zimbabwe

G. Chigova, P. Jaure, H. Zvirekwi, D. Phiri, T. Magorimbo, E. Rusike T. Chawapihwa (L. Genti 85th min), R. Manuvire, C. Rusere (M. Mudehwe, 68th min), R. Kawondera, R. Chitiyo ( T. Chipunza 88th min )

Seychelles

J. Euphrasie, Y. Manoo, R. Hoareau, J. Joubert, B. Marie, C. Esther, G. Waye – Hive, B. Dorby, K. Hall ( R. Esther 70th min ), B. Esther, S. Vidot (M. Mathiot, 75th min)

Source : The Herald

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