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Misfiring Warriors held

by Sports reporter
17 Jan 2014 at 07:15hrs | Views
Zimbabwe 0 - 0 Uganda
AFTER three hours of action, the misfiring Warriors are still without a goal at the 2014 Chan finals and the only positive spin to this is that, after another pathetic and frustrating show in front of goal yesterday, they are still in with a chance to squeeze into the quarter-finals.

The Warriors made 22 attempts at goal against Uganda at Athlone yesterday, eight of them technically on target, but they still could not find the target.

In the end, an intended cross by man-of-the-match Kuda Mahachi that hit the crossbar in the 62nd minute was the closest the Warriors got to getting a goal.

In 180 minutes of Group B action, the Warriors have made 37 attempts at goal but they have failed to score yet a team like Mozambique has lost their two Group A matches while scoring FOUR times.

Uganda needed victory to seal a place in the last eight while the Warriors needed victory to have destiny of the group in their own hands going into the final game of the group, against Burkina Faso, on Monday night.

The Warriors' consolation is that their main rivals for a quarter-final place, Morocco and Uganda, will clash on Monday night as the group will be decided.

Thus all the Warriors need is a big win against Burkina Faso and be through regardless of what happens in the other game. But it will be too ambitious to expect a big win over Burkina Faso by a team that does not seem to know where its goal will come from after another woeful afternoon in front of goal.

In the event that the last game between Morocco and Uganda produces a winner, the Warriors will just need a win against Burkina Faso to qualify for the last eight.

While Donald Ngoma fluffed the best scoring chances in Sunday's opener against Morocco, it was Dynamos hitman Simba Sithole's turn yesterday.

The defining moment came in the 65th minute when the outstanding Mahachi did well on the left as Zimbabwe counter-attacked from a Uganda corner and sent in a perfect cross for an unmarked Sithole, who headed the ball down and it bounced way off target.

It was the sort of chance the old Simba Sithole would bury effortlessly before the nightmare return to the South African Premiership last year blew holes in his confidence and he hasn't been the same striker again.

Second half substitute Charles Sibanda had the other clear opportunity when he timed his run to perfection and burst into the box unmarked to meet another perfect cross from the left by Mahachi.

The FC Platinum star then headed the ball straight onto the advertising boards. The reaction on the bench showed that the Warriors were resigned to yet another barren afternoon and there was to be no more drama for the remainder of the half in which Uganda performed much better than the first half.

Both teams made one change from the teams that played the opening games with reigning Soccer Star of  the Year Tawanda Muparati coming in for Pasca Manhanga while Francis Olaki replaced Francis Kayizzi for Uganda.

Statistically, the Warriors were dominant in the first half with a 61-39 percent advantage in ball possession, 11 shots at goal against Uganda's three, four shots on target against zero and three corner kicks against one.

The best chance for Zimbabwe came in the first minute of time added on in that first half when Simba Sithole broke loose on the right and, with the goalkeeper anticipating a cross, went for the near-post but Uganda goalie Benjamin Ochan recovered in time to push it out for a corner kick.

However, the Ugandans had shown little respect for the Warriors as they won their first corner kick after just 26 seconds but they wasted the opportunity with the taker sending the ball into the side netting.

The game itself was open with both sides showing little respect to each other although Zimbabwe assumed control and dictated pace for much of the first half but without causing any anxious moments in the Uganda goal area.

While Senegalese referee Diedhiou had a relatively easy afternoon, he allowed Ugandan striker Yunus Sentamu escape unpunished for a blatant "Hand of God" move in the 84th minute as he tried to beat Warriors' goalkeeper George Chigova to the ball.

He then feigned injury, probably fearing that the match officials had seen his cheating. Gorowa's first-choice forwards are firing blanks, and that's a huge problem for the gaffer and his team, but neither are the replacements bringing hope and Nelson Maziwisa spent the better part of his time on the pitch chasing shadows after being introduced in the second half.

Zimbabwe: G. Chigova, H. Zvirekwi, E. Chipeta, P. Jaure, M. Ncube, K. Mahachi, D. Phiri, T. Muparati, D. Ngoma (N. Maziwisa 54th minute), S. Sithole (Dynamos, M. Mambare 80th min), A. Sadiki  (C. Sibanda 52nd min)

Uganda: B. Ochan, J. Ntambi (N. Wakiro 68th min), S. Kabugo, I. Muleme, F. Olaki (S. Okwil 81st min), I. Ntege, H. Waswa, B. Majwega (J. Mpande 46th min), Y. Sentamu, D. Igumai.

Source - chronicle