CAPE TOWN — Zimbabwe beat Burkina Faso 1-0 at the Athlone Stadium last night in their CHAN Group B game, qualifying them for the quarter-finals of the competition for the first time after three attempts.
The goal came in the second half from the head of Masimba Mambare, who has recently been involved in a controversial move from Highlanders to arch-rivals Dynamos in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe finished second in the group, on goal difference behind Morocco, who beat Uganda 3-1 in the other game, and will face Mali in the quarter-finals on Saturday night at the Cape Town Stadium.
Zimbabwe came close to opening the score in the fifth minute, but Peter Moyo’s free kick effort was tipped over the goal by goalkeeper Mohamed Kabore.
In the 13th minute, Moyo found the ball at his feet outside the box and tried a long range effort, but his shot went over the goal.
A minute later Issoufou Dayo tried a long range shot for Burkina Faso, but it went high and wide.
Kabore was back in action making a good save in the 17th minute from Kudakwashe Mahachi’s shot from outside the box, which had followed a goal mouth scramble and clearance.
In the 24th minute Burkina’s Bassirou Ouedraogo had a shot from close range, following a corner, but his effort was just wide to the right.
Mahachi got onto the end of a cross in the 29th minute, but his header lacked power and was easily dealt with by Kabore.
Just before half-time Sango had a chance for the Burkina Faso but his well struck shot was saved well by George Chigova in the Zimbabwean goal.
Mahachi had a chance ten minutes into the second half, but his shot from just inside the area went wide to the left.
Zimbabwe went into the lead in the 56th when Masimba Mambare rose well to beat Kabore to the ball and head in the Warriors’ first goal of the tournament.
It should have been 2-0 in the 60th minute but Moyo’s first-time shot from in front of goal went over the bar.
Danny Phiri had a chance for Zimbabwe in the 77th minute but Kabore held on to the well hit shot.
Two minutes later Aboubacar Sidike Traore went close to getting the equaliser, but Chigova made a diving save to deny him.
In the 82nd minute, Orange Man of the Match, Moyo had another chance for the Warriors but his attempt from outside the box went wide.
In the dying minutes, Mahachi almost added a second, but his shot from just right of goal was well saved by Kabore, who through his body on the line.
Zimbabwe held out for the win and have yet to concede a goal in the competition, and Ian Gorowa remained unbeaten since taking over the coaching reigns.
Zimbabwe X1: G Chigova; H Zvirekwi, P Jaure, E Chipeta, M Ncube; M Mambare, D Phiri, P Moyo, K Mahachi; C Sibanda, S Sithole (How Mine).
Burkina Faso: M Kaboré; Sango, Dayo, Koné, Gouo; To, Zoungrana; S Traoré, Y Kaboré, E Traoré; Ouédraogo.
Saturday: Morocco vs Nigeria 1700hrs, Mali vs Zimbabwe 2030hrs