A brace of goals from Khama Billiat saw Zimbabwe claim a 2-1 away win over arch rivals Zambia in a 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on Tuesday evening.
The defeat at the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka followed on from a 5-0 thrashing suffered by Chipolopolo away to AFCON champions Algeria last week, leaving them at the bottom of the Group H standings. The Warriors, meanwhile, are up to second in the standings on four points, two adrift of the pace-setting North African side.
Zimbabwe got off to a great start and claimed the lead as early as the 11th minute, with Khama Billiat taking advantage of some slack defending from the hosts before shooting beyond goalkeeper Mwenya Chibwe.
Zambia fought back quickly to level the game in the 20th minute, with Patson Daka providing an incisive left-footed finish into the roof of the net after a quick break from their own half by the host team.
Chipolopolo, following their equaliser, looked the better team but it was the visitors who created a great chance for Kudakwashe Mahachi, though the forward missed the target with his effort and left the score 1-1 at the break.
The Warriors’ frustrations began to boil over early in the second half, with Billiat picking up a needless yellow card for arguing with the referee, while Zambia continued to build confidence and dominance.
Yet Zambia struggled to create clear-cut chances against a resilient Zimbabwe defence, and the visitors were able to reclaim the lead in the 79th minute. Once again Billiat showed his class in attack, capitalising ruthlessly on a rare opportunity created by Knowledge Musona.
Zambia pushed hard for an equaliser in what remained of the game, but they lacked the creativity and penetration necessary to find the net for a second time, leaving Zimbabwe to claim a potentially key victory on the road to Cameroon 2021.
Zambia (1) 1 (Daka 20’)
Zimbabwe (1) 2 (Billiat 11’ 79’)
Zambia: Chibwe, Chongo, Chungu, Daka, Kangwa (Musonda 75’), Malama, Mulenga, Mwape, Mwepu, Shonga, Sinkala
Zimbabwe: Chipezeze, Billiat, Hadebe, Karuru, Mahachi (Dube 61’), Mudimu, Munetsi, Musona (Jaure 84’), Nakamba, Nekati, Pfumbidzai