The Sunday News
Innocent Kurira, Sports Reporter
Zimbabwe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(0) 1
Malawi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0
(Zimbabwe win 2-1 on aggregate)
ZIMBABWE are through to the next round of the Under-20 World Cup Qualifiers after they managed to grind a narrow victory over Malawi at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
Talent Bizeki’s 75th-minute strike ensured Zimbabwe got a 2-1 aggregate win over the visitors. Ethiopia await Zimbabwe in their next challenge. After that, Zimbabwe will face South Africa or Botswana.
The hosts found the going tough against a stubborn Malawi outfit that was determined to get a positive result. The first leg in Malawi had ended in a one-all stalemate. The Young Mighty Warriors played the long ball from the onset, a tactic that seemed to work but the strikers failed to convert chances that came their way. Rosemary Mugadza, the Mighty Warriors coach said they were aware that things would not be easy for them and also felt the strikers let down the team.
“We knew from the start it was not going to be easy, it’s unfortunate that we failed to utilise the chances that we got in the first half. Our strikers let us down but we are happy with the girl’s performance given that we were coming from the festive holidays and we just had three weeks in preparation for this qualifier. We are happy that we have just gotten past the preliminary round and we now through to the next round of qualifiers,” said Mugadza.
Malawi assistant coach Kondwani Mwalweni said: “The game was okay despite the referee awarding Zimbabwe a goal when there was an infringement before the goal.”
The hosts could have scored more goals had their forwards been more clinical. Dinah Banda got the hosts first clear-cut chance in the eighth minute but his low effort from inside the box was well saved by Cynthia Mhango.
The Malawi goalie produced another brilliant save when she parried a low Valeria Packry strike six minutes before the break. Malawi could have opened the scoring in the 30th minute but the hosts’ shot-stopper Cynthia Shonga was on high alert to deny a Chisomo Banda one on one effort. The sides would go into half time break deadlocked at nil-all.
After the break, the visitors had a strong start but fluffed the few chances that came their way. With the fans getting behind them, Zimbabwe managed to pick themselves and manage to overwhelm the visitors.
The Fifa Women’s Under-20 World Cup will be held in Costa Rica and Panama in August.
Zimbabwe: Cythia Shonga, Sharon Teterai, Pationa Nyamugure, Precious Baison, Moreblessing Bwende, Faith Chezhara, Valeria Packry, Tinotenda Sakara ( Chako 72 mins), Shyline Dambamuromo, Dinah Banda, Talent Bizeki
Malawi: Ruth Mhango, Jesse Yosepe, Mercy Mkandawire, Chikondi Dube, Tionge Phiri, Grace Yotamu, Zainab Kapanda, Gladys Banda ( Phiri 69 mins), Mhango Yamikani, Tendai Sani (Moyo 75 mins), Chisomo Banda