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Afcon: Warriors hold fancied Algeria

Zimbabwe celebrate Kuda Mahachi's goal against Algeria on Sunday

15/01/2017 00:00:00
by Sports Reporter
Kudakwashe Mahachi
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ZIMBABWE'S battled to a 2-2 draw against a star-studded Algeria Sunday in their first group game at the Africa Cup of Nations finals underway in Gabon.

Speaking after the game coach Kalisto Pasuwa said: Getting a point against Algeria will motivate the players to do better in the next match.

“We sat too deep though we were catching them on the break. At this level, you have to be clinical in front of goal to win matches.

“It was only nine minutes to the end and they equalized. Our objective is to reach the second round and we will work towards that.”   

Pasuwa’s opposite number Georges Leekens remarked: “This is just the first match and first matches are always difficult in any major competition.

“We had a bad first half and it affected our game plan. We resumed stronger in the second half and managed to equalize. Zimbabwe was always going to be difficult. There are no small teams here.

“We made mistakes in the first half that allowed Zimbabwe to play. The penalty was also a huge mistake. We have one point and we will hope to have the three points in the next matches.”

Nyasha Mushekwi scored Zimbabwe's second

The Warriors forced a share of the spoils after falling behind when Riyad Mahrez put his side ahead with a curling shot on 13 minutes that goalkeeper Tatenda Mukuruva could only watch.

However, the lead proved temporary as winger Kuda Mahachi, full of energy and trickery, weaved his way past two Algerian players to score a beautiful leveller on 82 minutes after being set up Nyasha Mushekwi.

A few minutes later, as left-back Onismo Bhasera charged towards goal, he was hacked down in the penalty area and the referee justifiably pointed to the spot. Mushekwi stepped up to convert a penalty that made it 2-1.

The Warriors however, had themselves to blame for getting a point in a match they deserved to win.

Kalisto Pasuwa's men chose to defend deep from the start of the second half and they were dully punished with Mahrez scoring a brace that ensured a share of the spoils.

Zimbabwe captain Willard Katsande


The Warriors were unlucky not to have wrapped up the contest in the first half with star midfielder Khama Billiat unleashing a powerful shot that crashed against the upright post.

The Algerians were however, kept in the game by their goalkeeper who underlined his heroics between the sticks with some spectacular saves including a one-handed save that denied Billiat a goal.

The Warriors situation was compounded after chief striker Knowledge Musona was pulled off as he was reported to be feeling unwell since Friday. Musona was replaced by Mathew Rusike.

And as Algeria poured forward in numbers, the Warriors defence was suspect with centre back Elisha Muroiwa looking nervous and nearly scoring into his own net in a desperate bid to clear the ball.

Meanwhile, in the other Group B match also played Sunday, Senegal thumped Tunisia 2-0 with goals from Sadio Mane and Kara Mbodj.

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