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Champions Gunners held

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Gunners…………(0) 2
Lengthens………(1) 2

Gunners’ coach Darlington Dodo blamed his defence after watching his side throw away a first-half lead to eventually draw with relegation-threatened Lengthens in a Premier Soccer League match at the National Sports Stadium Sunday.

Tinashe Chipunza and skipper Stephen Matsangaise scored for Lengthens either side of the half while Ali Sadiki and Patrick Makuvaza were on target for the league’s defending champions in the second half.

Dodo expressed his frustration after the match: “We played very well but unfortunately our defence let us down on both the occasions we conceded. Those were just soft goals that you don’t expect to concede at this level of the game but we will keep working hard.”

Lengthens coach Jostein Mathuthu said: “The guys showed a fighting spirit that has been lacking in the team for a while now. We dominated the match but unfortunately, we couldn’t turn that dominance into goals and we almost paid dearly for it.”

With the draw, Gunners missed an opportunity to reduce the gap between them and the leading pack after Dynamos, Motor Action and Caps United all dropped points this weekend, remaning third on 34 points.

Gunners finished the match with 10 men after Hardlife Zvirekwi was sent for an early shower by referee Nomore Masundire after a second bookable offence in injury time.

Masundire grabbed centre-stage with some questionable decisions throughout the match in which he dished out seven yellow cards.

Gunners found themselves on the back foot as early as the second minute after Chipunza outpaced Chinungwa before chipping the ball past an outdrawn Tafadzwa Dube in goals for Lengthens who had moved from his line to try and tighten the angle.

The equaliser remained elusive until the 51st minute when Makuvaza restored parity with a rising shot from inside the box after Lengthens goalkeeper Muzondiwa Gonese failed to deal with a cross by Sadiki.

There was a 10-minute delay after that goal as Lengthens players and officials tried in vain to convince the referee that Gonese had been fouled but Masundire stood by his decision.

Sadiki thrust Gunners into the lead for the first time in the match with eight minutes remaining after being set up by a Lloyd Masakusi stylish back heeler to bury the ball home past Gonese.

However, Lengthens kept probing and were duly rewarded six minutes into injury time, courtesy of header by the impressive Matsangaise who had not only kept prolific striker Maroto at bay but also saved his team from certain defeat.

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