DURBAN – Zimbabwe won’t able to defend their Cosafa Cup crown after going down 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out to rivals Zambia on Wednesday night.
Zimbabwe have dominated the Cosafa for the past two years, but Chipolopolo made sure that there’s no hat trick of triumphs for the Warriors after the match ended 0-0.
Zambia will face Botswana in the final on Saturday at Moses Mabhida Stadium after the latter side beat Lesotho 2-1 in the other semi-final.
Zimbabwe controlled the early exchanges and played at a frenetic pace.
Knowledge Musona and Talent Chawapiwa were terrorising Zambia on the flanks with their quick movements.
Chipolopolo were looking to play on transition as they sat back, and allowed the Warriors to dominate possession with the hope of catching them on transition.
Lazarus Nkambole was key in their tactics. He threatened on a few occasions with his pace.
Zambia missed a glorious opportunity to go in front when Austin Muwowo’s penalty was saved by Elvis Chipezeze in the 40th minute.
Teenage Hadebe handled the ball inside the box and the referee, Ali Mohamed Adelaid had no choice but to penalise the Kaizer Chiefs defender.
Zimbabwe failed to create any meaningful chances, despite having the bulk of possession.
Chipezeze pulled off a stunning save to deny Tapson Kaseba. It was a powerful attempt from distance, but Chipezeze did well to keep his side in the game.
Khama Billiat started from the bench, but made his entry on the hour-mark replacing Tafadzwa Kutinyu.
Musona tested Edmore Sibanda from distance with a thunderbolt, but the Zambian net-minder was up for the task.
The organisation was flawless for Zambia. They didn’t leave any spaces in the channels. Zimbabwe kept on probing.
COSAFA Cup 2019 - Zimbabwe v Zambia. Check out the full statistics here pic.twitter.com/qLJ4m8XvMR— COSAFA (@COSAFAMEDIA) June 5, 2019
The Warriors were piling relentless pressure, but Zambia showed more determination. The two sides were deadlocked at 0-0 after 90 minutes, and the game went straight in to penalties.
Zambia got their game plan spot-on. They forced Zimbabwe to go wide and dealt well with the crosses.
The Chipolopolo were also always first in the second-balls. They defended with two lines, which made it difficult for the Warriors to penetrate through the middle.@Minenhlecr7