Zimbabwe Senior women team edged Zambia one nil in the Africa Women Cup of Nations qualifier first leg played at Rufaro Stadium on Wednesday.
A lone goal at the half time stroke by Kudakwashe Basopo was enough to see Zimbabwe emerging triumphant in the Zambezi battle.
The hosts threatened as early as the second minute when Erina Jeke skied a half volley from the six-yard box after a quick sweeping move by Zimbabwe down the right flank.
Zimbabwe nearly broke the deadlock in the 16th minute after Kudakwashe Basopo tried a shot-cum -cross which almost caught the visitors’ goal minder Hazel Nali off her line.
The Mighty Warriors took turns to miss and at times failed to give the final pass and kept the game tied.
The visitors were looking for a killer blow in the final minutes of the first half, just after the indication of one minute of added time, Kudakwashe Basopo broke free after a forward clearance from Zambia attack and she controlled the ball with her right foot and lobbed the ball over the advancing Zambian goal keeper to give the hosts a lead.
The visitors improved their game but could not find the equalizer in the second half with Misozi Zulu in the 68th minute forcing a save from the Zimbabwean goal keeper Chido Dzingirai.
Zimbabwe continued to look dangerous in the second half with the introduction of Samkelisiwe Zulu and Mavis Chirandu.
Chirandu made her presence felt as she combined well with Zulu of countless occasions, the most noticeable was in the 89th minute when Chirandu released Nyaumwe who had a shot saved on point blank by the visiting goal minder to keep the tie wide open.
Zimbabwe Coach Shadreck Mlauzi said they played according to plan and was elated by the result.
“We played according to our plan. We did not want to concede any goal here as playing away is a different ball game together. We are happy we did not concede at home. International football is never easy. Zambia was predominantly a physical side. Our approach in Zambia would be to balance between attack and defence”, said Mlauzi.
Zambian coach Albert Kachinga slammed his charges for complacency in the minutes leading to a Zimbabwean goal.
“We went to sleep, it was just a few seconds before half time was enough to cost us the game,” said the Kachinga.
Zimbabwe carry their unbeaten run to Lusaka where they will wrestle for a place in the third round with their Cosafa rivals on Sunday.
Chido Dzingirai, Felistas Muzongondi (c), Patience Mujuru, Sheila Makoto, Nobuhle Majika, Lynett Mutokuto, Emmaculate Msipa, Tendai Mandaza, Erina Jeke, Kudakwashe Basopo, Marjory Nyaumwe.
Hazel Nali, Annie Kibanji (c), Noria Sosala, Hellen Mubanga, Grace Chanda, Rhoda Chileshe, Mary Wilombe, Anita Mulenga, Barbara Banda, Grace Zulu, Martha Tembo.