Another win for Ngezi Platinum

26 May, 2024 - 00:05 0 Views
Another win for Ngezi Platinum

The Sunday Mail

Zimpapers Sports Hub

CHAMPIONS Ngezi Platinum were full value for their 2-0 victory over newcomers Bikita Minerals in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match at Sakubva Stadium yesterday, while Chicken Inn dropped points in a goalless draw at home to debutants Chegutu Pirates.

There were home wins for Herentals, who beat 10-man TelOne 2-1 at Rufaro Stadium; and ZPC Kariba, who edged Yadah 1-0 at Nyamhunga Stadium, courtesy of an 80th minute goal from Leeroy Murape to complete yesterday’s fixtures.

Sakubva Stadium was virtually empty as Bikita Minerals found the going tough against a Ngezi Platinum side slowly climbing up the ladder to be among the big boys after a disappointing start to the campaign.

So dominant were Ngezi Platinum that it was not even noticeable that the reigning champions were missing three key players in Gareth Madhake, Qadr Amin and Talent Chamboko.

The platinum miners were first off the blocks and were duly rewarded in the sixth minute when 2023 Castle Lager Premiership Golden Boot winner Takunda Benhura curled the ball into the net a few yards from the box, beating a flat-footed Victor Machopa in goal for the hosts. The jittery Machopa almost gifted the visitors another goal four minutes later when he failed to deal with striker Moses Demera’s shot, but luckily for him, there was no Ngezi Platinum player close by to tap in the rebound.

Against the run of play, Bikita Minerals came close to restoring parity in the 30th minute when Chris Makambira got to the end of fine exchanges and released a thunderbolt that hit the upright when Ngezi Platinum goalkeeper Nelson Chadya was well-beaten.

Bikita Minerals came back from the breather a better side, but were made to pay for clumsy defending when Moses Demera rose high to connect Tapiwa Mandinyenya’s beautiful cross to extend the lead for the Premiership reigning champions. After the encounter, Ngezi Platinum coach Takesure Chiragwi expressed satisfaction with the result, as well as his team’s performance in the last three encounters.

“I cannot ask for more from my boys. They played well and we were solid from the onset. It was not evident that we played this match without three key players. The youngsters whom we gave a chance acquitted themselves well.

“It was not easy because we had three matches in a short space of time but we still managed to get the nine points. I hope to continue in that direction as we get into our forthcoming league encounters,” said Chiragwi.

Bikita Minerals head coach Arnold Jani blamed his team’s defeat on lack of precision in front of goal.

“We had a good game of football today but it is unfortunate that we failed to convert numerous chances that we created. We could have easily levelled terms or even win this encounter had we utilised most of the scoring opportunities that we created.

“Nonetheless that is part of the game of football. We are going back to the drawing board to mend areas that we failed to live up to expectations,” said Jani.

At Luveve Stadium, newcomers Chegutu Pirates escaped with a point as Chicken Inn rued an effort ruled out for a foul in the 60th minute.  Chicken Inn striker Malvin Hwata was adjudged to have handled the ball as he was lying on the ground before second-half substitute Brighton Makopa found the back of the net.

The disallowed “goal” was the only real chance that either side managed to get throughout the 90 minutes of what was largely a disappointing game of football.

Chicken Inn missed the services of the ever-green Michael Charamba, who had a family bereavement.

Chicken Inn assistant coach Fungai “Tostao” Kwashi described his team’s performance yesterday as pathetic.

“Pathetic, lacklustre, poor, off the boil, we had a bad game.

“The guys didn’t come to the party, there are no excuses when you play a football game at home. When you’re playing at home, you need to maximise and get the three points. I am not going to defend these guys today, l am sorry,” vented Kwashi.

He added: “We are in a business of results; we are in a business where people have to deliver, the guys today didn’t come to the party. I’m not going to defend anyone. I’m not going to hide, we were not in the race, we failed to click against a team that was playing a 4-5-1 low block, which we had already predicted.

“When you play a team which sits, you need to use your wingers, put crosses from wide areas, you need to play one-twos in the middle of the park, you need to keep possession of the ball until they open up and you penetrate. At the end of the day, it’s three points lost. The guys need to invite themselves to the party, the guys are professionals, they are paid, they are on contracts, no one is playing for free in that team.”

His opposite number, Emmanuel Day Gutu, was happy to have picked up a point on the road.

“I’m relieved because we were coming from identical 2-1 losses. At least a point on the road, I’m relieved. The point will go a long way in improving our position on the table. There was pressure from fans and stakeholders, but at least I feel relieved with the point. Now, our next home game against Herentals is a must-win,” said Gutu.

At Rufaro Stadium, Herentals came from behind to collect maximum points in dramatic fashion in the early stages of the second half through Tinotenda Benza and Ashwald Phiri. TelOne took the lead on the quarter hour mark when Fradrick Muza came to the end of a through pass from Jaison Kudzai.

Muza’s first attempt struck the woodwork, but he was quick to react from the rebound to slot in the opener in the quarter hour mark.

With TelOne struggling to deal with crosses, Herentals managed to level the scores through Benza four minutes after the break, heading in second-half substitute Erick Dombo’s cross.

Two minutes later, Herentals were to grab what turned out to be a winner through Phiri, who unleashed a powerful grounder from the edge of the box.

TelOne were reduced to 10 men in the 80th minute when Trust Nyabinde was shown a second yellow card by referee Ronald Chinyani.

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