HARARE – Ethiopia fought back to hold Zimbabwe 1-1 in the teams’ final 2022 World Cup Qualifying Group G match, played at the National Sports Stadium in Harare on Sunday afternoon.
Both teams were playing only for pride after being eliminated from contention for the playoffs, with the Warriors hoping to claim the first win after an opening goal from Kudakwashe Mahachi, but the Walia Ibex fought back through a late leveller from Abubeker Nasir Ahmed.
The result means Ethiopia finished third on the log with five points, while Zimbabwe claimed the wooden spoon with just two points from six matches.
Zimbabwe started strongly but struggled to create chances with which to test out Ethiopia goalkeeper Teklemariam Shanko, with striker David Moyo left somewhat frustrated by a lack of clinical service.
The Walia Ibex gradually claimed a foothold in the game and created a couple of half-chances, with Zimbabwe goalkeeper Taimon Mvula making straightforward saves to keep out efforts from Getaneh Kebede and Shimelis Bekele.
The game turned in the Warriors’ favour on 39 minutes when Kudkwashe Mahachi took advantage of Shanko being out of position to score with a beautifully executed long-range shot, ensuring that the hosts led 1-0 at the interval.
Ethiopia looked for a tactical shift when they introduced Aschalew Tamene off the bench at the start of the second half, though Zimbabwe maintained their control of the game and made changes of their own by sending on Takudzwa Chimwemwe and Jonah Fabisch.
The hosts continued to enjoy a 1-0 lead through most of the second half and looked on course for a face-saving first win, but Ethiopia’s Abubeker Nasir Ahmed breached the defence, eluded Mvula and stroked home on 87 minutes to see the game end 1-1.
Zimbabwe (1) 1 (Mahachi 39’)
Ethiopia (0) 1 (Ahmed 87’)
Zimbabwe: Mvula, Muwira, Mudimu, Kangwa, Madzongwe, Takwara, Kamusoko, Mahachi (Chimwemwe 64’), Wadi, Billiat (Fabiscj 54’), Moyo (Mutizwa 81’)
Ethiopia: Shanko, Yesuf, Reshid, Youssuf, Tunjo (Tamene 46’), Sherefa (Mekengo 68’), Yohannes, Bekele (Solomon 79’), Ahmed, Hotessa, Kebede (Yalew 68’)