Zimbabwe seal semifinal spot at Women’s Championship

Zimbabwe have cruised into the semifinals of the 2011 COSAFA Women’s Championship with a thrilling 8-2 victory over Malawi at the Rufaro Stadium in Harare on Monday afternoon.

Stars striker Rudo Machingura scored five goals as the home side came back from an early deficit to overwhelm their opponents.

The match was played in front of an appreciative FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who was on hand to witness a deluge of goals from early on in front of a capacity crowd.

The hosts were ahead inside eight minutes as Machingura scored after a pass from Tsitsi Mairosi, but Malawi hit back as Linda Kasenda used her skill to pull her side level.

And the Malawians were ahead soon afterwards when Kasenda scored her second, capitalising on a mistake from Zimbabwean defender Eunice Chidanha.

But that was as good as it got for the Malawians as Zimbabwe dominated proceedings from there on in.

Nokhutula Ndlovu brought the home side level with a fine strike, before Talent Mandaza netted from 30-yards with a shot that should have been saved by Malawian keeper Mwase Thoko.

Zimbabwe were further ahead just a minute later as Ndlovu started a finished a great move that saw her dribble past the keeper and finish into an empty net.

Machingura was then teed-up by Ndlovu for the home side’s fifth, before she scored a brilliant solo effort as she dribbled past four defenders to make the scoreline 6-2.

Machingura the capitalised on a great cross from Tsitsi Mairosi to score her fourth, and the rout was complete as Marjory Nyaumwe set-up the former to add her fifth of the day.

The semifinal places in this year’s tournament will be decided on Tuesday, though Zimbabwe, South Africa and Tanzania have already booked their places in the Last 4.

Lesotho could join them if they win or draw against Malawi, and Mozambique don’t manage an unlikely victory over the rampant Zimbabweans.

The top two sides in each pool advance to the semifinals on July 7, with the winners there to go head-to-head in the final on July 9. The semifinal losers will play for bronze in a third-place play-off on the same day.