NGEZI Platinum’s title hopes suffered yet another reversal yesterday after they fell to lowly Black Rhinos in a Castle Lager Premiership tie at the National Sports Stadium.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
Black Rhinos . . . . (0) 2
Ngezi Platinum . . (0) 1
With log leaders FC Platinum having overcome Highlanders 1-0 at Mandava Stadium 24 hours earlier, Ngezi Platinum went into the match hoping to close the gap.
But the army side matched them blow for blow and ultimately were deserved winners. It was Ngezi Platinum’s third straight defeat of the campaign, as they continue to fall further behind as the league programme heads into the second half.
The platinum miners displayed a lacklustre show particularly in the first half in which they failed to impose themselves with the home team showing a lot of verve.
Black Rhinos could have gone up on 12 minutes but Vincent Mhandu missed his effort with the goalkeeper Ashley Reyners at his mercy.
In the 28th minute, Walter Mukanga watched in disappointment as his free kick was saved by the goalkeeper.
Black Rhinos however, got into the second half even more determined and they were 1-0 up on 74 minutes. The goal was a product of a stunning free kick from outside the penalty area by Tafadzwa Jaravani. There was nothing goalkeeper Bernard Donovan could do about it.
The lead, however, proved temporary as Keith Murera cancelled out Black Rhinos’ goal with a powerful header four minutes later from a corner kick by Michael Charamba.
As Ngezi Platinum thought they had secured a point, Lot Chiwunga was set up by Wellington Taderera and kept his composure to slot the ball into the nets on 80 minutes. Ngezi Platinum became determined to level the scores and bombarded Black Rhinos goal area with an assortment of shots.
However, Black Rhinos remained held on, defending resolutely as if their lives depended on it.
Ndiraya was naturally disappointed with the result. “I think it was a disappointing defeat, we just have to give credit to Black Rhinos. The first goal was a brilliantly taken free kick. It was a very good free kick, we came back and I thought our defending was poor today. The signs were telling in the first half but I am really disappointed that we had to let in a very soft goal, which was the second goal, at this level when you fighting for the championship you don’t concede such goals like that. I am very disappointed as a coach.
“We were not really ourselves today in the first half; I don’t remember my team having a shot on target in the first half, which is quite disappointing. Our offensive players were a little bit flat today. They didn’t have the hunger or the push to get the results. But look this is football we still have 17 more games to play.”
Black Rhinos coach Herbet Maruwa was happy to collect maximum points.
It was a tight game, I think. It was a balanced affair. We got our chances and we managed to score, but like I said before it’s a process and we are on the right track.
“I told the guys to keep fighting, you never know in football. Our aim was to score early in the first half and we failed, we came back from the break and told the guys to keep on fighting and try and give them pressure fortunately we managed to get goals. Our boys fought well and we managed to get a win,” Maruwa said.
Black Rhinos: A Rhinos, M Mambare (E Chiguwo 90’), F Banda, B Homora, S Jimu, D Mudadi, W Kapinda (A Gahadzikwa 67’), T Jaravani, V Mhandu, W Taderera, L Chiunga
Ngezi Platinum: B Donovan, T Mchisa, L Chakoroma, K Murera, W Mukanga, D Teguru, T Dzvukamanja, T Mabvura, (M Charamba 63rd), M Mushonga, F Mukarati, S Owusu (J Ngulube 49’)