Warriors edge Zambia, to face Kenya in Four Nations Invitational final

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Warriors players pose for a team photograph before their Four Nations Invitational opening match against Zambia in Lilongwe on Saturday

Zimbabwe will face Kenya in the final of the Four Nations Invitational Tournament in Malawi on Tuesday, following a penalty shootout win against neighbours Zambia in their opening match at the Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe on Saturday.

The Warriors rallied from a slow start to win the match 6-5 on post-match penalties after the match ended 2-2 in regulation time.

Zimbabwe got off to a nightmarish start after conceding in the first minute of the match through a headed effort by the Zambian captain Stoppilla Sunzu.

Chipolopolo, as the Zambian national team is popularly known, doubled their lead through Clatous Chama’s cheeky lob from outside the box to leave the Warriors facing an uphill task.

However, Zimbabwe replied in emphatic fashion with Macauley Bonne coming through for the Warriors to slid home the equalizer following some fine work from the left flank by slippery winger Daniel Msendami.

Macauley Bonne

As Zambia was looking like heading to the break with a 2-1 lead, Walter Musona showed composure to find the back of the net with a close range after a pouncing on a defence spitting long ball whipped in the Zambian box.

Zimbabwe dominated the second half with both Bonne and his strike partner Tino Kadewere coming close to scoring the winner for Zimbabwe. Defender Geralf Takwara also saw his headed effort from a corner kick just missing the target with the Zambian keeper well beaten.

After a goalless second half the game had to be settled via a penalty shoot-out.

Zambia started the ball rolling through Patson Daka who made no mistake while Emmanuel Banda, Toaster Nsabata and Sunzu had their penalties saved.Gift Mphande, Clatous Chama, Golden Mashata and Benedict Chepeshi tucked away their efforts.

The Warriors scored their efforts through Gerald Takwara, Tino Kadewere, Marshall Munetsi, Andrew Rinomhota, goalkeeper Bernard Donovan and Daniel Msendami, who tucked home the winning spotkick.

Marshall Munetsi

The duo of Musona and Divine Lunga had their efforts saved but it mattered little as Zimbabwe went on to win the shootout.

Zimbabwe’s interim head coach Norman Mapeza was impressed by his team’s fighting spirit.

“They (Zambia) scored two early goals, and it was just lack of concentration on our part,” said the gaffer.

“But credit to the boys, they kept believing in themselves, we crawled back and scored two goals.

“In the second half, I think we were the better team. I also think we could have won the game in normal time because we got a lot of set piece opportunities.

“But at the end of the day, I will give credit to my boys, they worked so hard. Look, this is a team we assembled some few days ago, so well-done to the boys,” added Mapeza.

Winger Daniel Msendami

Zimbabwe will face Kenya in the final on Tuesday after the Harambe Stars romped to a dominant 4-0 win against hosts Malawi in the other semi-final.

Zambia will play Malawi in the third and fourth place playoff match on the same day.

All the four teams are using the Four Nations tournament to prepare for the June round of FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

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