Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Khama Billiat’s late strike averts embarrassment for Warriors

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ZIMBABWE came within five minutes of kissing goodbye to the 2022 World Cup but Khama Billiat’s late strike averted a huge embarrassment for the Warriors yesterday.

The hosts rallied back to beat minnows, Somalia, in a nerve-wrecking second leg of the preliminary round qualifiers at the National Sports Stadium.

The Warriors, who suffered a shock 0-1 defeat in the first leg last week, faced certain elimination from the global football showcase until the 77th minute when Marshal Munetsi broke the deadlock with an overhead kick.

Interestingly, the France-based midfielder was about to be taken out when he scored the goal after playing with a stomach bug.

But a moment of horror almost scuppered Zimbabwe’s chances when Somalia forward Omah Abdullah Mohamed took advantage of a defensive error by Teenage Hadebe to level the scores.

The away goal meant Zimbabwe needed to score two more goals in the last five minutes and, considering the way they had toiled the whole afternoon, it appeared a tall order.
However, substitute Knox Mtizwa emerged as the hero.

The Golden Arrows man gave Zimbabwe the fighting chance when he buried a free-kick in the 88th minute before setting up Billiat, whose rising shot gave the ‘keeper Said Alweys Ali no chance