By Mehluli Sibanda
Zimbabwe got a bashing at the hands of Algeria in an Africa Cup of Nations Group H qualifier at the 5 July 1982 Olympic Stadium on Thursday.
It was the first defeat for the Warriors in the qualifiers as they came into this fixture with a win and a draw. The win for Algeria saw the Dessert Foxes maintain their 100 winning record with three wins out of three to remain on top of the group with nine points.
Warriors coach Zdravko Logarusic has little time to work on his team’s defensive blunders since the two teams clash once again at the National Sports Stadium on Monday.
First half goals by Baghdad Bounedjah, Sofiane Feghouli, both resulting from defensive blunders by the Warriors rearguard and a sleek goal by Riyad Mahrez sucked the fight out of the Warriors. France based striker pulled one back for Zimbabwe with 11 minutes to go.
Zimbabwe started off on a bright note when Khama Billiat took aim at goal in the third minute from a Knowledge Musona free kick but his effort was saved by Adi-Rais Mbolhi.
Alec Mudimu came to Zimbabwe’s rescue in the 29th minute to thwart Bagdad Bounedjah. The big centre forward was allowed space again to take a shot at goal from close range but Elvis Chipezeze made a clean save.
The pressure was mounting on the Warriors defence and they eventually crumbled. Algeria opened the scoring in the 31stminute, Bounedjah pouncing after Chipezeze had made a good save to deny Sofiane Feghouli but the Zimbabwean defence failed to make the clearance.
Algeria made it 2-0 in the 42nd minute, their star player and captain Mahrez allowed space on the right side to send a cross for Feghouli to head past an exposed Chipezeze.
Kadewere should have pulled one back for Zimbabwe eleven minutes into the second half when he was put through and came face to face with Mbolhi, with the keeper coming out tops as he tipped the ball over for a corner kick.
Just when Zimbabwe were looking to launch a comeback, Mahrez danced his way through the Zimbabwean defence to score the third goal for his team in the 67th minute.
Kadewere scored with a cheeky goal in the 79th minute after a lovely pass from Musona.
Zimbabwe: E Chipezeze (Shumba 46 mins), T Darikwa, J Zemura (Mahachi 71 mins), D Lunga, O Karuru(Rusike 75 mins), T Kadewere, K Billiat, (Moyo 75 mins) T Hadebe, K Musona, M Nakamba, A Mudimu. The Chronicle.