Ngezi back in Chibuku final

21 Nov, 2021 - 00:11 0 Views
Ngezi back in Chibuku final

The Sunday Mail

Don Makanyanga
Sports Reporter

Cranborne Bullets………………..0

Ngezi Platinum Stars……………(0) 1

NGEZI Platinum Stars booked their second consecutive Chibuku Super Cup final spot in dramatic fashion after edging Premiership newboys Cranborne Bullets at the National Sports Stadium yesterday.

In-form forward Bruno Mtigo scored his seventh goal of the tournament just after the restart.

A heavy downpour that pounded the stadium forced the match to be played on a water-logged pitch for the remaining 20 minutes.

It once again brought to the fore concerns raised by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) about the suitability of the country’s main venue to host international matches.

Cranborne Bullets coach Nesbert “Yabo” Saruchera felt referee Martin Chivandire should have called off the match.

“When it started raining, the pitch became unplayable and I thought the match officials were going to stop the game, but they didn’t,” said Saruchera.

Ngezi gaffer Rodwell Dhlakama equated the last 20 minutes of the match to “a game of water polo”.

“It was very difficult to play the match; it was like we were playing water polo. The ball was not moving, but again it was good for us as we had already scored,” he said.

Cranborne Bullets also felt hard done by the referee when Chivandire waved away their penalty appeals.

Ngezi’s Kudzai Chigwida seemed to have handled inside the box in the 75th minute, and five minutes later Nyasha Chintuli appeared to bring down Tinotenda Meke.

On both occasions, the referee allowed play to continue, much to the soldiers’ chagrin.

Saruchera admitted that his charges were not clinical in front of goal.

He, however, played down the penalty incidents.

“I think we should have scored one or two goals, but it is so unfortunate that we did not get the goals, and also normally I do not want to comment on the other side, which I can’t control, but overall, it was a good game.

“Normally, I do not want to comment about the referees, but if we were lucky, we could have got it (penalty), but it’s part of the game,” said Saruchera.

Coming into the game as favourites, Ngezi, who were runners-up to Highlanders in the last edition of the tournament in 2019, ensured their passage into the final through Mtigo, who did well to beat his marker inside the box after receiving a defence-splitting pass from Denver Mukamba a minute after the break.

Mtigo, who is enjoying his game, unleashed a powerful strike to give the platinum miners the lead they held onto for the remainder of the second half.

Ngezi came close to getting an early goal, as three minutes into the match, Mukamba crashed his effort onto the crossbar after some fancy footwork.

Cranborne Bullets later settled into the game and started causing all sorts of problems for the platinum miners’ defence, but the army side were found wanting in the final third.

Three minutes before the break, Everson Feremba drew the best out of Ngezi goalkeeper Nelson Chadya, who did well to save from the attacking midfielder’s header off a Tapiwa Sibanda corner.

The soldiers’ Mclint Namakhoma also saw his long-range effort missing the target by a few inches five minutes later.

Ngezi came close to getting their second goal of the afternoon two minutes from time when Anelka Chivandire capitalised on a poor clearance by the opposing side’s defence.

His goal-bound effort, however, was stopped by the waterlogged pitch.

Substitute Anelka Chivandire was unlucky again to see his attempt cleared off the line after he had done well to beat Cranborne Bullets defenders and goalkeeper Tatenda Makoni.

Despite the win, Dhlakama admitted Cranborne Bullets gave them a good run for their money.

“It was a difficult game, I want to be honest. Cup games are always difficult.

“Going into the final for the second year running is something which is very important to me, to the team and to the fans,” said Dhlakama.

 

Teams:

Cranborne Bullets: T. Makoni, T. Sibanda, M. Mushangwe, D. Mbewe, L. Zvasiya, T. Kachembere, W. Kapinda, M. Namakhoma, E. Feremba, T. Chibunyu, M. Whata

 

 Ngezi Platinum Stars: N. Chadya, K. Chigwida, D Chafa, (M. Mushonga 58 min), M. Mukumba, P. Moyo, W. Makuva (V. Kadonzvo 58 min), B. Mtigo, N. Chintuli, Q. Amini, D. Mukamba (A. Chivandire 70 min)

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