The opening minutes followed the same theme as other matches in the tournament, with both sides lacking quality and pace, leading to a rather dull start. Never Tigere had the first clear chance of the game in the 17th minute for Zimbabwe, but his effort went flying slightly wide. Sory Kaba and Kudakwashe Mahachi also posed a threat to the Guinean defence, so it wasn’t a surprise to see the ‘Warriors’ break the deadlock in the 26th minute.
The opening strike came through Knowledge Musona, who rose higher than everyone else to nod the ball home following a cross and put Zimbabwe in front – and deservedly so based on how the game had unfolded. Mahachi, who was one of the most dangerous players for Zimbabwe, doubled the lead just a few minutes before HT with a shot from outside the box, though Guinea’s goalkeeper Aly Keita could have probably done a bit more to stop that effort. The first half ended with a 2-0 lead for Zimbabwe and while that scoreline was surprising, it also painted a fair reflection of what happened throughout the opening 45 minutes.
Guinea started the second half with a more aggressive approach and only needed four minutes to half the deficit. It was none other than their best player, Naby Keita, who scored his 10th international goal with a screamer from outside the box that went straight into the top left corner. Mamadou Lamarana Diallo could have evened things up for Guinea midway through the second half, but he wasted an incredible chance from inside the six-yard box. By now, Zimbabwe were looking absolutely outmatched and were just a shadow of their first-half selves.
Despite the fact that Guinea pushed the lines forward and went all out in attack in the final minutes, Zimbabwe managed to weather the storm and held out for the win. Even though it was not enough to secure a spot in the next round, the ‘Warriors’ leave the tournament on a high note. Meanwhile, Guinea advanced to the Round of 16 as the second-placed team in Group B, but they will need to improve by leaps and bounds if they want to make a deep run in the knockout stages.