- This trip to Zimbabwe will be a tough test for the 2019 AFCON champions, as Zimbabwe have not lost a home AFCON qualifier for over 14 years.
By Andrew Murenha
THE Zimbabwe Warriors play host to the Desert Foxes of Algeria in a 2022 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers match this coming Monday, Monday 16th November, 2020 at the National Sports Stadium in Harare, and “safe bet” says the home team is expected to lose again.
Algeria strengthened their hold on top spot in Group H of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualification tournament with a 3-1 victory when these teams met on Thursday and that result also extended their unbeaten run to 21 matches.
This trip to Zimbabwe will be a tough test for the 2019 AFCON champions, as Zimbabwe have not lost a home AFCON qualifier for over 14 years.
However, Algeria will rightfully believe that they can claim the three points. Algeria have been winning at half time in each of their previous three matches in this group and if they start well again it’s going to be very hard for Zimbabwe to break them down.
According to popular football prediction and analysis website StatsZone, a double result bet on Algeria to be leading at both half time and full time is the betting tip.
Algeria opened the scoring on Thursday just at the half hour mark with Baghdad Bounedjah scoring from a rebound after goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze had fumbled Sofiane Feghouli’s low long range shot back into play.
The hosts doubled their lead two minutes before halftime when Feghouli scored with a diving header from a brilliant cross by his captain Riyad Mahrez to leave the Warriors facing a heavy defeat at the break as the Algerians completed the half in complete control of the contest.
Warriors coach Zdravko Logarusic replaced Chipezeze with Talbert Mashumba at the start of the second half
Tino Kadewere squandered a good opportunity to get the Warriors back in the game after shooting tamely at the goalkeeper after breaking clear on 55 minutes before Teenage Hadebe came close with a header a couple of minutes later.
The Warriors were made to rue the missed opportunities when Mahrez scored the Algerians’ third goal with a well taken shot on 67 minutes after dancing through Zimbabwe’s panicky defence with relative ease.
After missing a few clear cut chances, Kadewere finally scored the consolation goal for the Warriors 10 minutes from full-time as the contest ended 3-1 in favour of the hosts.
Algeria’s win meant they remain in control of Group H with nine points from three matches while the Warriors are second on four points.
Zambia is third on three points after collecting their first win of the qualifiers in a hard fought 2-1 win over Botswana in Lusaka earlier on Thursday.
The Warriors will feel they could have done better against the Algerians after starting off very disciplined and dangerous on set-pieces.
Although Algeria dominated the possession, Zimbabwe were able to create some good scoring chances.
Khama Billiat’s low close range shot from a tight angle was blocked by the Algerian goalkeeper as early as the third minute before Kadewere wasted a good opportunity after 16 minutes, heading Knowledge Musona’s delivery from a freekick from the left with the goalkeeper completely beaten.
Algeria also had their opportunities with defender Alec Mudimu producing ditch tackles to prevent Baghdad Bounedjah from taking a shot at goal after racing clear.
The Warriors were made to pay for not converting their set piece dominance into goals as Algeria scored on a counter-attack and then began to turn the screws towards halftime before taking complete control of the match. ■