Zimbabwe almost lost the plot in the 2021 Afcon qualifying campaign yesterday but coach Zdravko Logarusic heaved a huge sigh of relief after Prince Dube rose from the bench and rescued a point against African champions Algeria at the National Sports Stadium.
There was more sweet music for the nation when Botswana stunned Zambia in a later Group H encounter to leave all the other three teams with a chance of joining Algeria in Cameroo.
The Zebras won the match 1-0 to take their points tally to four and move to third on the table while the Warriors are second with five points and Zambia anchor with three points.
Dube, with his first touch after he was introduced towards the end of this tough encounter and a late first half goal from skipper Knowledge Musona, summed up a hectic day for the Warriors who had stared a second defeat in four days against the same opponents in the qualifiers. The Warriors lost the first leg 1-3 in Algiers last week and it appeared the script was going to duplicate after Andy Delort and Manchester City superstar Riyad Mahrez had put the visitors 2-0 up by the 38th minute.
“It’s not easy to come up against Algeria. We had expected to win (at home) but then we conceded two naive goals from individual mistakes.
“We saw our weaknesses and we had to organise our individual tactical moves as a group. We had to cover one another and not to create a lot of space.
“Anyway, against the champions of Africa we were 0-2 down and we came up and I am satisfied. But really we were pushing for three points. But with the point we got we are still in control of our destiny in the group.
“I think everything depends on us right now for our qualification. Still I am sure Zimbabwe can score goals against any team in Africa,” said Logarusic.
Warriors coach Zdravko Logarusic, who had made some questionable changes to the starting line-up, admitted they had a poor first half and had to make four changes at the restart in frantic efforts to avoid another hiding.
His bold but controversial decision of leaving some of Zimbabwe’s best players like Khama Billiat, Alec Mudimu and Kuda Mahachi on the bench was met with criticism.-Chronicle