The Sunday Mail
Langton Nyakwenda in KARIBA
Cranborne Bullets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
Dynamos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (0) 1
DYNAMOS vice captain and longest-serving member in the current squad Emmanuel Jalai celebrated his 100th appearance for the team by scoring his first Castle Lager Premier Soccer League goal at Nyamhunga Stadium yesterday.
This helped DeMbare reduce the gap between log leaders Highlanders and them to just five points.
Bosso, however, play Chicken Inn in a potentially explosive Bulawayo derby at Barbourfields Stadium this afternoon.
Despite playing second fiddle to Cranborne Bullets for most of the game, Dynamos, who have of late mastered the art of grinding results, grabbed the all-important winner in the 51st minute.
Jalai, who celebrated his DeMbare century last weekend and was honoured by the club, made it game number 101 yesterday.
And he put the icing on the cake by ending his goal drought when he latched onto a long ball by fellow defender Kelvin Moyo, turned his marker before unleashing a half volley into the back of the nets.
It was his first goal for Dynamos since joining the popular Harare giants in 2019.
“I dedicate this goal to the team,” said Jalai.
“I am happy to score my first goal at a time I am also celebrating a century of appearances for the club.
“We will now take each game as it comes as we keep pushing for the title.”
The win pushed Dynamos’ tally to 36 points, five behind Highlanders and three adrift of second-placed Ngezi Platinum Stars, who slumped to a surprise defeat by Herentals at Mandava Stadium yesterday.
It was indeed a relief for coach Genesis Mangombe, who was taking charge of his third league game since taking over from Herbert Maruwa.
Mangombe now has two wins and a draw.
“We are happy to get the three points against a tough team,” said Mangombe.
“We knew the match would be difficult; they tried to neutralise us in the middle of the park.
“The heat also affected us.”
Mangombe also restored experienced goalkeeper Taimon Mvula back into the starting line-up after weeks on the bench.
“Mvula is always our number one; he is experienced and we need him in crucial games.
“It’s also good he kept a clean sheet,” added Mangombe.
With their latest defeat, Cranborne Bullets remain second from bottom with 13 games to play, but they once again gave fans value for their money with an entertaining passing game.
If there was a log table for entertaining football, Nesbert “Yabo” Saruchera’s youthful outfit would be topping the standings by a huge gap.
But passing alone will not earn your side maximum points in the game.
Yesterday, the army side dominated the better part of the game, with Adam Ngwena, Kingsley Mureremba and Tinotenda Meke shining.
They had a few chances they failed to convert. But DeMbare woke up from their slumber in the second half, especially after they got the opener.
They began to dominate the midfield, with Tanaka Shandirwa, who is now spotting a bald head, dictating the pace, as he usually does.
Saruchera praised his charges for their fight but bemoaned the missed chances.
“We played well but failed to convert, but we are going to fight another day,” said Saruchera.
He made a triple substitution in the 60th minute, bringing on Yemmy Matembedze, Slyvastar Munhira and Brain Muzondiwa, and that move changed the complexion of the game.
Cranborne Bullets reclaimed control for a brief moment and created at least two good chances.
“Our conversion rate was poor,” lamented Saruchera.
His side remain on 18 points and second from the bottom, just above fellow army side Black Rhinos.
“We are soldiers and we will fight till the last drop of blood,” added Saruchera.
DeMbare winger Tendai Matindife had an embarassing first-half show in which he was completely off colour, with some wayward passing and crosses.
Coach Mangombe had to haul him off after just 35 minutes for Issa Sadiki, who then gave a much better performance.
While Bullets turned on an entertaining show and Dynamos showed their battling qualities, referee Tatenda Bvekerwa had a disappointing afternoon despite flashing at least five yellow cards.
Saruchera’s men also felt hard done by Bvekerwa. They thought the referee denied them what they felt was a genuine penalty call in the latter stages of the game when substitute Matembedze fell under challenge.
Cranborne Bullets: T. Makoni, X. Janatana, T. Meke, C. Charakupa, M. Namakhona (S. Munhira 60), N. Kupara, V. Mhandu (Y. Matembedze 60), A. Ngwena, M. Mudzuka, W. Taderera (B. Muzondiwa 60), K. Mureremba
Dynamos: T. Mvula, E. Jalai, F. Makarati, K. Moyo, E. Moyo, J. Makunike, T. Shandirwa, D. Mudadi (A. Musiyiwa 70) T. Matindife (I. Sadiki 35), E. Chikona (S. Nyahwa 78), E. Paga (E. Ilunga 70)