The Sunday Mail
Innocent Kurira in BULAWAYO
Chicken Inn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1) 2
Ngezi Platinum Stars . . . . . . . . . . . 0
IF Chicken Inn needed to prove their title aspirations, they had to collect maximum points against table-topping Ngezi Platinum Stars — and they did just that yesterday via a goal either side of the break by Brian Muza and Malvern Hwata.
Ngezi were the favourites going into the game, as they were also chasing a 20-match unbeaten run that stretched from last season.
It was a game that had both sides creating a few clear-cut chances.
The visitors had a better start to the game and enjoyed much of the possession but they failed to turn it into goals, and they were duly punished.
Muza opened the scoring for the hosts after 40 minutes.
The forward headed home a well-taken George Majika corner from the right.
Three minutes later, Majika dribbled past two Ngezi defenders before teeing up Hwata for the easiest of tap-ins inside the box.
Ngezi could not find a response and never really looked like a side that is on top of the table.
But coach Takesure Chiragwi thought his side had played their normal game.
“We lost the game with dignity.
“We did everything that we were supposed to do,” Chiragwi said.
“The first goal was through a set-piece and they got the second after a mistake from our defender, who lost the ball in a dangerous area and we were punished.
“The general assessment of the game is that l think we played our normal game.
“This is one of the best games we have played this season in terms of performance.”
Ngezi remain top of the table with 17 points — the same with Highlanders — but they enjoy a superior goal difference.
Chicken Inn moved into sixth position with 15 points after 10 games.
Gamecocks coach Prince Matore was happy that his charges used their opportunities.
“The difference today was we scored.
“It was a super win for our players and the fans,” he said.
Matore was forced to change his system after injuries to right-back Arthur Chinda and left-back Xolani Ndlovu.
He shifted to a back-three consisting of Mpumelelo Bhebhe, Polite Moyo and Vincent Moyo.
Michael Charamba and Majika played as the wingbacks.
This, however, still paid off as Chicken Inn never seemed to struggle.
Teenager Tinotenda Musariranwa had the game’s first real chance but he, instead, found the side net with a shot from inside the box. It was only after the 18th minute that Chicken Inn threatened through Muza, whose shot from outside the box missed the target by inches.
Chicken Inn: Donovan Bernard, Brian Muza, Itai Mabunu, Mpumelelo Bhebhe, George Majika, Shepard Mhlanga (Neilson Ketala 89 mins), Clive Dzingai, Vincent Moyo, Malvin Hwata (Brighton Ncube 60 mins) Tafadzwa Kutinyu (Tinotenda Chiwashira 60 mins), Michael Charamba
Ngezi Platinum Stars: Nelson Chadya, Kudzai Chigwida, Gareth Madhake, Polite Moyo, Tinotenda Musariranwa, Marvellous Mukumba (Delic Murimba 58 mins), Tapiwa Mandinyenya (Ellson Mweha 58 mins), Nigel Makumbe (McDonald Makuwe 62 mins), Leslie Kashitigu, Takunda Benjura (Malvin Gaki 79 mins) Qadr Amini (Valentine Kadonzvo 62 mins)