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Chikwende goal sends Zimbabwe through to AFCON, entertaining 3-3 draw in Lusaka not enough for Zambia

Simba SC player Perfect Chikwende followed up a saved Knowledge Musona free-kick and stuck home the rebound to give Zimbabwe a 1-0 road victory over Botswana and send the Warriors to the Africa Cup of Nations finals. With the result Zimbabwe joins Algeria in clinching top-2 positions in Group H to clinch qualification for their third consecutive AFCON tournament.

The match was delayed for 30 minutes due to the attending match commissioner testing positive for Covid-19, necessitating a last-minute replacement. The 14th minute Chikwende strike was all the visitors needed as Botswana continued their struggles in attack, lacking finishing on their chances in Francistown.

The later Group H match was a thrilling affair from beginning to end as Algeria held off a desperate rally from Zambia to draw 3-3 in Lusaka. The Chipolopolo meet a deserved fate that sees their elimination from the hunt for qualification, only collecting three points through five games. Algeria clinch the group winner spot with the result.

Poor defending continuously hamstrung the Zambians as they went down 2-0 in the opening 25 minutes, Rachid Ghezzal scoring the first before setting up Islam Slimani for the second. Some momentum was restored when Zambia star striker Patson Daka converted a penalty kick to halve the deficit going into halftime. The Chipolopolo played inspired football after the break and Cletus Chama equalized the match in the 52nd minute with a clever flicked header.

However, just when the hosts were in excellent position to drive forward to a crucial victory, Slimani popped up again to take advantage of shambolic Zambian defending only a couple of minutes later. A missed clearance gave Baghdad Bounedjah acres of space to cross low to an open Slimani, who tapped in all too easily. The damage was done and despite an 80th minute Daka penalty to tie the game back up, Zambia could not get the necessary win to stay alive.

Highlights of the Zambia-Algeria match are below.

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