(Zambia won 4-2 on penalties)
Khama Billiat and Admiral Muskwe both missed from the spot during a semi-final penalty shootout against Zambia, with the Warriors Cosafa Cup title defence attempt ending in disappointment at the Moses Mabhida Stadium last night.
BY HENRY MHARA IN DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA
Billiat slipped and scuffed his shot which was saved by the goalkeeper Sebastian Mwange, while Muskwe skied his effort and Zimbabwe never recovered.
Marvellous Nakamba and Tendayi Darikwa converted their spotkicks, but it was not enough for Zimbabwe as Zambia were clinical, scoring all four of their penalty kicks.
The match had ended goalless after 90 minutes, with Warriors goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze saving a penalty in regulation time.
The Warriors will now play Lesotho in a third and fourth play-off on Friday, while Zambia meet Botswana in the final the following day.
Zimbabwe, without coach Sunday Chidzambga who had to abort the tournament following the passing on of his father, dominated proceedings for the larger part of the match.
They could have gone in front in the 12th minute, but Muskwe failed to connect a cross from Devine Lunga after good interchanges, while Thabani Kamusoko’s effort was saved.
At the other end, Chipezeze made two blocks in quick succession in the first half.
At this point, Zambia were beginning to see much of the ball, but couldn’t make full use of their possession.
Skipper Musona had been anonymous so far by his huge standards, but burst to life on the 38th minute when he roasted his marker twice before he was hacked down inside the box as he prepared to open fire.
Comoros referee Ali Adelaid ignored the appeals from the Zimbabwe team. A minute later, he pointed to the spot at the other end for an infringement inside the box.
Austin Muwowo took responsibility, but Chipezeze stretched to his right and blocked the penalty kick.
The start of the second half was a balanced affair, and Gumbo decided to shake things up by bringing on Billiat just after the hour mark, whose introduction was greeted by a huge roar inside the stadium.
Immediately, the Warriors seized control of the match, and should have gone in front on 66th minute when Musona beat his marker and took aim at goal, but his shot was pushed around the post by the goalkeeper.
Zambia sat back for the remainder of the game as they denied Zimbabwe space, but their defence was opened up by Billiat, crossing for substitute Tino Kadewere, who inexplicably curled his shot wide from inside the box in the referee’s optional time.
The missed chance proved to be the last major highlight of the match, and a penalty shoot-out to decide the team to progress to the finals on Saturday, ensued.
Zimbabwe: E Chipezeze, T Darikwa, D Lunga, A Mudimu, T Hadebe, M Munetsi (M Nakamba, 85’), T Kamusoko, T Chawapiwa (T Kadewere, 85’), T Kutinyu (K Billiat, 61’), K Musona, A Muskwe
Zambia: S Mwange, A Chama, L Kambole (E Chabula, 87’), B Sakala, E Mbewe (B Musakanya, 90’), A Muwowo (W Muzaza, 57’), T Kaseba, T Mwape, J Chirwa, C Mulashi, M Phiri