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Date: 21 March 2019

  Zimbabwean - Soccer

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Zimbabwe beat Mali- at last!

[Posted 05 Jun 2011]
[By Brighton Mupangavanhu]
Musona, the golden boy of Zimbabwean football scored twice to give Zim a 2-1 victory over Mali

What threatened to be another Sunday  of a flood of tears at the end of 90 minutes, turned out to be a day of celebration, as Zimbabwe's Warriors battled against a stubborn Mali in a 2012 Africa Cup of Nations in Harare, eventually beating the visitors 2-1 courtesy of the brilliance of two-goal hero Knowledge Musona who scored at the end of either half.

Zimbabwe started like a house on fire at Rufaro Stadium, and put the Carthage Eagles of Mali on the backfoot for the entire first half, but missed a glut of chances earlier in the match, with the day's hero Musona and Khama Billiat being the main culprits.

Musona scored in the 45th minute, from an acute angle inside the box, to send Rufaro Stadium into a delirium. The Warriors went to the break leading 1-0, and looking desperate to make up for lost ground in Group A of the AFCON 2012 qualifiers.

Mali returned from the break with one purpose only-to get an equaliser and kill the home team's spirit. Their startegy seemed to have worked, as El Hadji Mohamane Traore equalised for Mali to silence the home crowd 11 minutes into the second half.

The Warriors' defence had failed to deal with a cross, which looked like an easy routine clearance.

As expected Rufaro went quiet.

So defeaning was the silence tha it should have felt very intimidating for the home team's players on the field of play. One place that is difficult to play soccer if you are a home team is Zimbabwe, especially when you concede a goal.

Musona and Billiat took turns to miss glorious chances in the 2nd half as the Warriors poured forward in search of a goal to cheer the spirits of the crowd and to put their campaign back on track.

The visiting Eagles hit Zim with some sporadic counter attacks, but the Zimbabwean defence stood firm.

The pressure on Mali told in the 90th minute, as the visitors conceded a penalty at the death. Musona had to get a second bite on the cherry to score and give Zimbabwe a much deserved and a much needed victory at home.

The referee adjudged that Mali keeper Diakate Soumaila had moved from the line before the kick was taken. Musona sscored on the second attempt.

The victory takes Zimbabwe to 5 points after three matches in Group A, and just a point behind Mali, and two points adrift of pace-setters Cape Verde.

Zimbabwe need to win their two remaining matches to have any realistic chance of qualifying for the AFCON 2012 finals to be co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon,  from Group A. Only one team will qualify from the group.

The match was somewhat ill-tempered, and emotions ran so high that Mali finished the match with 10 man, after a moment of madness as pressure told on both teams, saw a Mali striker punch keeper Tapuwa Kapini, and he received a straight red-card.

But the celebrations belong to the home team and its passionate crowd that has endured pain of seeing their team of talented individuals like Musona, Billiat, Edward Sadomba, Nyasha Mushekwi, Method Mwanjali, failing to win a match in three outings in this group.


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