|Young Warriors lose|
|Monday, 30 July 2012 00:00|
THE Young Warriors hopes of progressing to the last qualifying round of the African Under-20 Youth Championships suffered a huge blow when they failed to use home advantage and fell to Angola in a second round, first leg encounter at Rufaro yesterday.
Angola midfielder Mateus Domingos, scored the goal that made all the difference in the 65th minute, when he intercepted a ball which defender Tafadzwa Ngwena had failed to clear out of danger.
Domingos, who had been giving the hosts a tough time, fired home into the far post of Tonderai Mateyaunga’s goal.
The goal that left the Young Warriors with an even tougher assignment, came as Zimbabwe appeared to have been rejuvenated following the introduction of Walter Musona in the second period and briefly put their opponents under siege.
But the Angolans who were clearly the better side on the day defended resolutely, probably aware of the significance of the important away goal they had grabbed.
The match, began with the visitors controlling the proceedings as the Zimbabwe defence battled to contain Domingos and his midfielders Manuel Afonso and Manuel Matos.
As early as the 11th minute the hosts found themselves in trouble, and defender Elvis Moyo, one of the Bantu Rovers twin brothers, came to the rescue when he cleared the ball from the line after goalkeeper Mateyaunga had initially blocked the Angolans raid.
Mateyaunga made an acrobatic save but his clearance fell onto the path of the opponent who shot back into the empty net but the left back timeously cleared the ball away and Zimbabwe heaved a sigh of relief.
Five minutes later the Black Mambas goalkeeper who appeared jittery in the first period was forced to clear his lines again after Matos had swept into the box as the defence was struggling to match their opponents.
However, Zimbabwe’s breakthrough came in the 24th minute, when Chicken Inn midfielder Kuda Mahachi’s shot appeared to have squeezed past the goalkeeper Adilson Cruz at the far left post and the ball took a bounce but somehow the goalkeeper collected it and South African referee Gomes Miguel waved play on.
It could have changed the complexion of the match but 10 minutes later, Zimbabwe were in trouble again when Young Warriors centre back Ngwena was left for dead by Matos and with the keeper off his line the ball rolled past the empty net.
Another Zimbabwe chance came again a minute before the breather when Mahachi dangerous cross from the left flank had to be tipped over the bar by the goalkeeper and the resultant free kick by Edmore Tsoro was headed wide by Elvis Moyo.
The hosts re-grouped and after the restart led by captain William Kalongonda had some neat build ups from the back with the wingback Elvis Moyo also venturing upfront.
Their right flank became livelier with the coming on of Knowledge Musona’s young brother Walter for Edmore Tsoro but still a goal remained elusive.
Luck was also not on Zimbabwe’s side as Mahachi’s shot in the 76th minute hit the upright and as the Young Warriors desperately tried to salvage something. Midfielder Ngobizitha Masuku also watched in agony as the Angolan goalkeeper showed his reflexes to save his effort.
Five minutes before time, in another late raid by Zimbabwe, Mahachi’s fine delivery saw Knox Mutizwa failing to connect.
Angola were in some desperate defending but two minutes from time they could have increased their lead when Lirio Francisco was denied by the bar after good runs in the box unmarked.
Angolan coach Andre Nzunzi chose to downplay his team’s victory and felt it would be tough for his charges in the reverse tie at home.
“We know this is the first leg and we will have the second leg and this is not enough for us and we will continue to work harder and harder.
“We believe Zimbabwe have a strong team as we saw today they played well and we believe their senior team will also play well. But the information we collected today we will tell our coach and hope we will do our best,” said Nzunzi.
Zimbabwe coach Jairosi Tapera said he was disappointed with the defeat but insisted it would be still game on when they travel to Luanda.
“It’s a painful defeat, very painful. We had our chances and they got one and scored. We lost to one player their number 14 (Domingos). I am hopeful, they were closing in on us and I am sure at home they will open up and we will attack.
“We wanted to use the wings and attack but these youngsters when given instructions they fail to follow them. But we have realised some mistakes we made and we will work on them. We have two players playing in the Premiership and the rest play in Division One and some are still going to school and we hope the next game they will do well,” said Tapera.
Zimbabwe: T. Mateyaunga, W. Kalongonda, E. Moyo, K. Moyo, T. Ngwena, N. Masuku, T. Dzumbunu(F. Madora 72nd minute), K. Mahachi, E. Tsoro(W. Musona 52nd minute), M. Chiwara(R. Muduwirwa 72nd minute), K. Mutizwa.
Angola: A. Cruz, J. Afonso, E. Panzo, P. Mingas, A. Nzayinawo, M. Matos, M. Afonso(J. Fernando 80th minute), C. Nsumbu(O. Kitenga 87th minute), M. Domingos, L. Francisco, B. Caetano.