Herentals’ Chibuku fairytale continues

18 Sep, 2022 - 00:09 0 Views
Herentals’ Chibuku fairytale continues

The Sunday Mail

Don Makanyanga
Sports Reporter

Herentals. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  (1) 2

Manica Diamonds. . . . . . . . . . .  (1) 1

IT has been a fairytale season for Herentals, who ironically needed the last day of the 2019 season to survive Premiership relegation when they won against Mushowani.

To underline the lessons they learnt at the time, the students have largely been the surprise package of the top-flight this year, where they are currently fifth on the log table.

And, yesterday, substitute Collins Mujuru ensured they would add another chapter to their fairytale, when he struck in added time to send Manica Diamonds out of the Chibuku Super Cup at the National Sports Stadium.

Mujuru found the target from a well-struck free-kick in the first minute of the referee’s optional time.

This was after Herentals had fallen behind via a 12th-minute own goal by defender Godfrey Mukambi.

Regular scorer Brighton Majarira then restored parity before second-half substitute Mujuru ensured Herentals would be the first team to seal a semi-final berth.

Herentals coach Kumbirai Mutiwekuziva was overjoyed with the win, which he feels edges them closer to their dream of landing the Chibuku Super Cup.

“This is a great milestone for the club, and I am really happy with what the squad has achieved.

“We are hoping to become a giant in Zimbabwean football, and this is a stepping stone,” he said.

“Going into the semi-finals gives us hope of going into the final and clinching the title, and obviously representing Zimbabwe in the African Safari.”

Manica Diamonds started off on a          high note yesterday, with their pressing game forcing Herentals into defensive mode.

But the visitors wasted chances that came their way in the opening stages of the game.

Having survived the early raids by the diamond miners, Herentals clawed their way back into the game.

They were, however, stunned when Mukambi turned the ball into his own net in a bid to clear a Farai Mugumwa corner-kick.

Herentals upped the tempo in search of an equaliser.

Their pressure paid off in the 25th minute, when they won a penalty, which Majarira converted.

They had another good chance to take the lead five minutes after resumption, when Tinotenda Benza found himself in a one-on-one situation with Hillary Makainganwa, but the young forward failed to beat the Manica Diamonds goalkeeper, leading to a collision that saw the latter being forced out of the game.

Just when the match seemed headed for penalties, the hosts were awarded a free-kick a few metres outside the Manica Diamonds penalty box.

Mujuru took the responsibility and curled the set-piece beyond the reach of Manica Diamonds substitute goalkeeper Ashley Reyners.

“It was a match-winning goal by Collins,” said Mutiwekuziva.

“I am happy with how the guys responded after finding themselves a goal down.”

Manica Diamonds coach Johanisi Nhumwa blamed his charges for complacency and failing to convert their first-half chances.

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