Blue Ribbon Stars…….(0) 0
Shabanie Mine………….(1) 1
Wasteful Blue Ribbon Stars and visiting Hwange played to a drab draw in front of a paltry crowd in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match at Rufaro Stadium Sunday.
Though the hosts, Blue Ribbon, had the better of the chances, including hitting the upright on two occasions in the second half, they could not find their way past Hwange goalkeeper Petros Mhari, who put in a sterling performance to earn his side a precious away point.
Blue Ribbon coach Misheck Chidzambwa felt his side was unlucky not to have won the match after hitting the upright on two occasions.
“We were just unlucky not to have won. We hit the upright on two occasions and created a number of opportunities in the process.
“Otherwise I’m happy with the performance of my players and the priority for us is to remain in the Premier League and so far we are on the right track,” said Chidzambwa.
His opposite number Tenant Chilumba said he was satisfied with the draw.
“I thought we played very well as it’s always not easy to come here and come away with a point, but my players showed great courage.
“The defence marshalled by Obert Moyo and Gerald Ndlovu played well and with a bit of luck we could have won in the end.
“The result also means we are sill in contention in the championship race as the league is still wide open,” said the Zambian mentor.
With the draw, which was their 11th in 22 matches, Blue Ribbon leapfrogged over Monomotapa into eighth position with 29 points while Hwange remained in contention for a place on the African safari after maintaining sixth position on the log with 31 points.
In Zvishavane, former Zimbabwe international Zvenyika Makonese marked his return to Maglas Stadium in style with a surprise first half goal to help Shabanie Mine win over Monomotapa.
It was an ill-tempered match as both sides ended the afternoon with 10 men.
Monomotapa assistant coach Nkululeko Dhlamini was also ejected from the technical bench for remonstrating with referee Happy Mabhena.
Monomotapa player Ronald Chitiyo was red-carded after 27 minutes while Shabanie’s Pardon Marima received his marching orders in the 58th minute for a second bookable offence.
But the major highlight was Makonese, who interestingly played as striker. Critics had questioned Luke Masomere’s decision to field him upfront.
It took just 34 minutes for the former Warriors and Orlando Pirates defender to strike when he coolly tapped home a Jonathan Chipereki low cross from the left side.
Masomere defended his decision to field Makonese upfront, saying he took the decision as a result of injuries.