Warriors remain top despite home draw

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Zimbabwe (1) 1

DR Congo (1) 1

By Sports Reporter

THE Warriors maintained their poll spot in their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying group despite being held to a 1-1 draw by the visiting Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at the National Sports Stadium in Harare on Tuesday.

After securing a point in a closely fought encounter, Zimbabwe remained on top of Group G on eight points while DRC are second with five points. The other group G rivals Liberia and Congo are both on four points after the former registered a 2-1 home win in Monrovia in the late kick-off.

The Warriors, who were backed by a vocal home crowd, got off to a dream start after breaking the deadlock in the first minute of the match when Khama Billiat found the back of the net from Talent Chawapihwa’s cross.

With their confidence high, the Warriors thought they had doubled the lead in the 21st minute only for Knox Mtizwa’s goal to be ruled off side after Billiat was wrongly adjudged to be in an offside position before providing the assist.

The decision by the match officials proved costly for the Warriors as DR Congo levelled matters three minutes later when defender Teenage Hadebe turned the ball into his own net.

Zimbabwe, who played the match without their inspirational skipper Knowledge Musona, defender Alec Mudimu and midfielder Danny Phiri due to suspensions and injury, were dealt another heavy blow after goalkeeper George Chigova limped off just after the half hour mark with a knee injury.

His replacement Edmore Sibanda was forced into making a save early in the second half to deny Benik Afobe Tunani as DR Congo started the second half strongly.

Zimbabwe dominated possession in the second half, passing the ball confidently but let themselves down with their poor decision making in the final third.

The hosts were unlucky not be awarded a penalty after Knox was brought down inside the box while Golden Arrows forward’s shot with his weaker left foot was deflected by the Congolese defender a few minutes later.

DRC on the other hand offered very little in terms of attack in the second half and seemed content to settle for a point away from home as the match ended 1-1.