WARRIORS striker Tino Kadewere was the hero for Lyon after netting a stoppage time equaliser which also ended a run of seven matches without a goal for the striker away at Stade de Reims on Friday night.
Stade de Reims is home to compatriot Marshall Munetsi who played a blinder of a match in the middle of the park.
It was the second of the historic meetings between the two Zimbabweans in Ligue following the clash between the two sides in November last year where Lyon ran out 3 – 0 winners.
And this time around it was Kadewere, introduced at halftime with the team trailing by a Mathieu Cafaro 33rd minute goal, who ensured a share of the spoil with three minutes into additional time.
The past couple of months have been difficult for Kadewere whose last goal contribution for Lyon was a brace a he scored in the derby against St Etienne on January 24.
Kadewere appears to be slowly getting out of favour with coach Rudi Garcia having only started once against Dijon, since the St Etienne match.
The Zimbabwean has played second fiddle to January signing, Algerian Islam Slimani and Rayan Cherki in the New Year.
But the goal was a huge relief for the striker.
“It had been a while since I scored, but we haven’t won so the goal wasn’t met,” he said in his post-match interview with Olympique Lyon TV.
“It was a tough game, even if we had the chances to win. We must not lower our heads, the season is not over, we have a very important match next week, and we need to keep a cool head and work to prepare for all of our next matches.
“It was not a very good match for us. We lacked the finishing touch, we had our chances. The important thing is to look ahead and focus on our next matches,” the 25-year-old forward added.
The goal ensured that the Zimbabwean striker moved his tally into double figures in his first season in the French topflight league.
He also becomes only the second Zimbabwean to achieve that feat after Benjani Mwaruwari who scored 11 league goals in his third season with AJ Auxerre.
But Kadewere’s return to scoring ways will not mean much for the Warriors after his club barred him from joining the national team for the upcoming Afcon qualifiers against Botswana and Zambia later this month.
As for Munetsi his man of the match performance won him a lot of plaudits from the French media.
Munetsi who seemed to be venturing forward a lot more on Friday night could have put the game to bed just inside the hour with a shot from range which was parried away by Anthony Lopes.
Nathanaël Mbuku followed up on the rebound but he blazed the rebound over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
The Mabvuku-bred star was brilliant in midfield for Reims, with 62 touches, two key passes, two tackles, most interceptions (seven).
He also won six out of 12 duels and made the most clearances (nine).
“Points shared in 1-1 draw, Zimbabwe the winner and it was good to see my brother Tino Kadewere,” Munetsi took to social media after posting a picture with Kadewere.
The two were showing off the jerseys they had exchanged after the match.
Munetsi, who attracted interest from English clubs during the January transfer window, is part of the Warriors provisional squad for the Afcon qualifiers.
Zifa is waiting for a response from the club on whether they are going to release the player or not as the country looks to book a ticket to the Africa premier football competition. – Standard