Zimbabwe head coach Sunday Chidzambwa urged his players to be more clinical in front of goal as they aim to keep their Africa Cup of Nations campaign alive against Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday.
Both sides head into their final Group A encounter without a win to show for their efforts, with Zimbabwe claiming a 1-1 draw against Uganda last time out after going down 1-0 to hosts Egypt in the tournament opener.
If Mohamed Salah and company are able to maintain a 100 per cent record, victory over DR Congo might be enough for Chidzambwa's men to claim the second automatic qualification spot on goal difference.
The standout moment of their last match came when Knowledge Musona somehow contrived to pick out the crossbar when confronted with an open goal after team-mate Khama Billiat cancelled out Emmanuel Okwi's opener.
"In every match there is some sort of pressure due to the desire to win, but our main aim is to prevent pressure and play to win," Chidzambwa said.
"That's what we'll do against Congo to [try to] qualify. We struggled from missing our chances against Egypt and Uganda but we'll try to fix that while facing Congo."
DR Congo were also left to rue near misses in their loss to Egypt, with Marcel Tisserand and Jonathan Bolingi both hitting the bar during the first half.
"Despite the losses in our last two matches, we'll give everything to win against Zimbabwe," said head coach Florent Ibenge, who could yet edge his team through as one of the best third-place teams – although that would in all likelihood require a handsome victory.
"We've conceded four goals and that is not easy to take, but every match is a new challenge to win."
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Zimbabwe – Khama Billiat
Ibenge cautioned his players against becoming fixated with Billiat's threat, but the Kaiser Chiefs forward is certainly the player in form within a misfiring Zimbabwe attack. The 28-year-old was named man of the match after a tidy close-range finish versus Uganda.
DR Congo – Youssouf Mulumbu
The experienced former Paris Saint-Germain and West Brom midfielder has not featured yet in Egypt but is expected to return against Zimbabwe. Mulumbu will be looking to respond after a frustrating season at club level, where a move to Celtic failed to ignite and he was loaned back to fellow Scottish Premiership side Kilmarnock.
Key Opta facts
- Zimbabwe are winless in five Africa Cup of Nations games (D2 L3), after winning two of their previous four (L2).
- DR Congo have been eliminated in the group stage of the Africa Cup of Nations in four of their past eight participations in the tournament, after qualifying for the knockout stage in each of their previous four.
- Zimbabwe have failed to keep a clean sheet in each of their 11 games played at the Africa Cup of Nations, conceding 23 times.
- Musona has been involved in two of Zimbabwe's past three goals in the Africa Cup of Nations, with a goal and an assist.