Zimbabwe have taken control of Group C at the 2018 MOPANI Copper Mines COSAFA Under-20 Championships after a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Lesotho at Shinde Stadium on Wednesday.
Delic Murimba took his tally to three for the tournament, and the early lead on the scorers chart, with the opener for the Young Warriors before Tatenda Tumba added a second just after halftime.
Junior Nyamuziwa added the cherry on top with two more for the Zimbabweans, who showed why they will be serious contenders for the title this year after missing out on the knockout stages in the last few editions.
Zimbabwe now have six points from their two games and will need just a draw in their final pool clash against Angola on Sunday to book a semifinal spot. Their haul might also be already enough to finish as the best-placed runner-up.
Mozambique got their Group A campaign off to a positive start with a 1-0 victory over Central African guest nation DR Congo in the earlier game.
Striker Geny Catamo scored the only goal of the game just after halftime to give the Young Mambas the victory and take them level on points with hosts Zambia at the top of the pool.
Catamo fired in a stunning volley from outside the box that left DR Congo goalkeeper Nathan Mobaelua rooted to the spot.
There will be four matches played on Thursday, including both Mozambique and DR Congo back in action. There are two games to be played in Group B, both with 15h30 kick-offs as hosts Zambia tackle DR Congo at the Nkana Stadium and Malawi face Mozambique at Shine Stadium.
These games could go a long way to deciding the pool, with victories for Zambia and Mozambique eliminating the other two sides.
Mauritius take on Eswatini in a Group B clash at the Shinde Stadium at 12h00, with the latter playing their first game of the competition in the three-team group. Mauritius have already lost 5-0 to South Africa and need a big win to stay in contention for the semifinals.
The other game is in Group C where Angola take on Botswana at the Nkana Stadium at 13h00.
Angola drew with Lesotho in their opening game, while Botswana lost to Zimbabwe.
DR Congo 0 Mozambique 1 (Catamo 48’)
Zimbabwe 4 (Murimba 45’,Tumba 48’, Nyamuziwa 64’, 90’) Lesotho 0
12h00 (10h00 GMT): Mauritius vs Eswatini – Shinde Stadium
13h00 (11h00 GMT): Angola vs Botswana – Nkana Stadium
15h30 (13h30 GMT): Malawi vs Mozambique – Shinde Stadium
15h30 (13h30 GMT): Zambia vs DR Congo – Nkana Stadium
Group A P W D L GF GA GD Pts
Zambia 1 1 0 0 2 0 +2 3
Mozambique 1 1 0 0 1 0 +1 3
DR Congo 1 0 0 1 0 1 -1 0
Malawi 1 0 0 1 0 2 -2 0
Group B P W D L GF GA GD Pts
South Africa 1 1 0 0 5 0 +5 3
Eswatini 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Mauritius 1 0 0 1 0 5 -5 0
Group C P W D L GF GA GD Pts
Zimbabwe 2 2 0 0 6 1 +5 6
Angola 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1
Lesotho 2 0 1 1 1 5 -4 1
Botswana 1 0 0 1 1 2 -1 0
Matches Played: 6
Goals scored: 17
Biggest victory: South Africa 5 Mauritius 0 (Group B, December 3)
Most goals in a game: 5 – South Africa 5 Mauritius 0 (Group B, December 3)
3 goals – Delic Murimba (Zimbabwe)
2 – Lyle Foster (South Africa),Prince Mumba (Zambia), Junior Nyamuziwa (Zimbabwe)
1 –Tseliso Botsane (Lesotho), Geny Catamo (Mozambique), Daniel Liberal (Angola), James Monyane (South Africa), Nkosingiphile Ngcobo (South Africa), Resaobaka Thatanyane (Botswana), Tatenda Tumba (Zimbabwe)
Own goals –Jean Francois (Mauritius)