The Sunday Mail
Oscar Rusenga in TRIANGLE
Manica Diamonds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
ZPC Kariba . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1) 2
IN-FORM Manica Diamonds eased into second place on the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League log standings after a deserved win over ZPC Kariba at Gibbo Stadium yesterday.
Goals from Jeffrey Takunda from the penalty spot and substitute Ralph Kawondera helped take the diamond miners’ tally to 42.
They are now three points behind log leaders Ngezi Platinum Stars.
Although victory keeps Manica Diamonds among the chasing pack, their coach Jairos Tapera is not getting carried away.
“We were in control of this game from start to finish. We were so much organised defensively and we also created so many chances throughout the game, but I am happy we managed to score the two goals and they were enough to win us the match,” he said.
“We count our wins and we will see how many points we will accumulate by the end of the season, and that will give us the objectives of next season.
“It’s my first season with the boys. I have enough depth and I trust every player we signed, hence we give all of them equal opportunities. I am confident we can achieve something good in future.”
The home side started the game well against a ZPC Kariba side that was missing a host of regulars through injury.
They could have taken an early lead in the 20th minute when Talent Chamboko tested Tapiwa Chilenga, who was in goals for the visitors, but the former Triangle goalkeeper was equal to the task.
Manica were eventually rewarded for their pressure when a ZPC defender handled inside the box in the 30th minute.
Takunda made no mistake from the resultant penalty.
Tapera’s men had a chance to double their lead after 48 minutes, when captain Donald Ngoma rose to meet a delightful cross from Chamboko but directed his effort wide of goal.
For ZPC Kariba, Moses Demera had the clearest of chances to level matters but he unbelievably placed his effort wide following a one-on-one situation with Manica Diamonds number one Tedious Baye in the 52nd minute.
Man-of-the-match Brian Chikwenya, who was playing as a centre-back, was unlucky not to add his name on the scoresheet two minutes later, when his effort from a direct free-kick was tipped by Chilenga before it crashed against the crossbar.
Tapera made some tactical substitutions just after the hour mark by introducing Charles Teguru and Kawondera.
The decision paid dividends as the latter scored in the 79th minute after some beautiful exchange of passes inside the box involving Pasca Manhanga and Ngoma.
ZPC Kariba head coach Luke Masomere thought that, apart from playing badly, they still had a chance to get something from game. “We have only scored three goals from our last nine games. We have played badly today and we gifted them with the two goals because of our clumsy defending, but I am very much confident that we will achieve our primary goal of surviving relegation,” he said.