By Munyaradzi Madzokere
CAF Confederations Cup representatives Harare City were made to pay for missing chances early in the match as they succumbed to a 2-1 loss to an organised Zambian side Zanaco in a first round encounter at Rufaro yesterday.
An 89-minute goal by substitute Ronald Ruzvidzo was not enough to help the Taurai Magwiro-coached Sunshine Boys avoid defeat in front of their home fans after Zanaco had taken a two-nil lead through goals by Aubrey Funga in the first half and a Rodrick Kabwe beautifully curled free kick late in the match.
Striker Funga gave the Zambians the lead against the run of play in the 35th minute when he glanced winger Charles Zulu's inch-perfect cross into the roof of the net, to complete a swift counter attack move.
After taking a one-goal cushion to the break, the visitors, who were impressively defending their slender lead, doubled their advantage via a well-executed long range free kick by Kabwe six minutes from time.
Despite a late onslaught from Harare City, Zanaco managed to hang on for a crucial win ahead of the second leg back in Zambia in a fortnight.
"I take a lot of encouragement from the way we finished the match and that goal could prove vital for us come the second leg.
Yes, we could be down but not yet out," Mangwiro said after the match.
Zanaco coach Mumamba Numba said the match was not over and they were looking forward to a difficult match in Zambia.
"We came here to attack and that is why we managed to get the two goals and we still think it's going to be a tough encounter in Zambia and hopefully, we will progress to the next round," he said.
Source: All Africa