Ethiopia will look to bounce back from an opening defeat in their 2022 World Cup Qualifying Group G campaign when they host Zimbabwe at the Bahir Dar Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Kick-off is at 6pm CAT.
Ethiopia got their WCQ group stage off to a losing start as they succumbed 1-0 away to Ghana in Cape Coast on Friday night, though the East Africans put in a fighting display and could have salvaged something from the game had they been just a touch more clinical in attack.
The Walia Ibex will hope that playing on home soil brings a better result, with coach Wubetu Abate calling for aggression and pride from his charges.
“We must show our opponents that we are here to defend the honour of our jersey. Playing at home will inspire more fight and determination,” said Abate.
Zimbabwe opened Group G with a frustrating home draw against neighbours South Africa in Harare on Friday afternoon.
The Warriors were generally the more proactive and dominant team in the match, though they struggled to create clear scoring chances and needed a couple of key interventions at the back to prevent Bafana Bafana from claiming a ‘smash and grab’ win.
Zimbabwe coach Zdravko Logarusic saw match fitness as an issue and will be hoping his team is sharper and shows more endurance in Bahir Dar.
“It was a difficult game, and I will give you a few thoughts. You could see at the end of the game that we had a problem with match fitness, because only four of our players are playing regularly at their clubs,” said ‘Loga’.
“It was a difficult game, we needed a bit of individual brilliance, we didn’t get. At the end I think a draw was a fair result and we have to look in some other games to try and catch up for those two points.”
In head-to-head stats, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe have met in three matches across all competitions and friendlies since their first recorded clash back in 1984. The Walia Ibex have claimed two wins compared to one for the Warriors.
The teams’ most recent meeting was way back in November 1988: a CECAFA Cup game which Zimbabwe won 2-1 in Blantyre.
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