THE Warriors versus Algeria four-goal thriller at the National Sports Stadium gripped social media following two exquisite goals by captains of the respective sides, Knowledge Musona and Riyard Mahrez.
BY KEVIN MAPASURE
Mahrez struck first after a sumptuous back heel took him beyond Zimbabwe leftback Adam Chicksen. He turned the debutant once more, leaving him on the grass before shooting past Talbert Shumba.
It was a goal that immediately triggered fierce debate among those watching in public places in Zimbabwe with some choosing to blame Chicksen, while those in the majority chose to shower praise on the talented Manchester City superstar.
Among those in support of Chicksen was one of his rivals for the leftback slot, Ronald Pfumbidzai, who felt the newcomer did well in his first competitive match.
The Mahrez goal was one of the top sports stories on CNN while British newspapers among them, Daily Mail and Daily Mirror carried the story and video on their social media pages as well as the websites.
Some observers on social media pages suggested that the goal was a strong contender for the Puskas Award.
The Manchester Evening News wrote that City fans demanded that after this performance Mahrez should get more game time.
“Manchester City fans are hoping Riyad Mahrez can return to Manchester City full of confidence after he scored an incredible solo goal on international duty,” MEN wrote.
“After getting on the scoresheet as well as grabbing an assist for Algeria against Zimbabwe last week, Mahrez again shone against the same opposition on Monday as Algeria remained in control of their African Cup of Nations qualifying group.
“With Algeria one goal up, Mahrez scored a sublime second in the latest victory to round off a successful international break. He was later replaced before Zimbabwe fought back to claim a point.
“Collecting a cross-field pass, Mahrez flicked the ball over his defender with his first touch, before racing into the area on the right hand side. The City man then cut inside, checked back to leave the Zimbabwe defence on the floor, before smashing home on his right foot to complete the wonderful goal.
“The goal, and particularly his unbelievable first touch, caught the attention of City fans, who are hopeful Mahrez can rediscover his form from last season after a mixed start to the new campaign.
“Mahrez found himself out of the matchday squad all together in City’s last Premier League game — the important clash with Liverpool — but his reaction to that disappointment has been exemplary if his performances for Algeria are anything to go by.”
After Mahrez had shone, Musona responded with a beauty.
The skipper was a menace for the visitors from set pieces, either picking out teammates from corner kicks and free kicks, or testing the Algerian goalkeeper.
He thrashed one which crashed against the cross bar before Zimbabwe, desperate to get back into the match after falling two goals behind in the first half, won a free kick at an acute angle and there was no debate who would take responsibility.
The AS Eupen (in Belgium) midfielder exquisitely curled the ball over the wall, well beyond the goalkeeper and into the top corner.
Musona’s goal might not have attracted the same attention as that of Mahrez probably because of the profile of the City star, but it was on the agenda in the social media with some suggesting that had it been scored by maybe Barcelona super star Lionel Messi or his rival Cristiano Ronaldo, it would have replayed through the big TV channels throughout the day.
But the Confederation of African Football acknowledged that Musona had produced some magic.
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