IT wasn’t the prettiest of performances by Chicken Inn, but they still got the job done, beating a battling Mutare City at Vengere Stadium in Rusape yesterday.
BY HENRY MHARA IN RUSAPE
MUTARE CITY…………… …0
CHICKEN INN…………. (1) 1
The victory by Chicken Inn ramped pressure on the two leading teams − FC Platinum and Ngezi Platinum.
The Bulawayo side had to defend hard for almost the entire match to protect a second-minute goal by Innocent Mucheneka, who tapped home from close range.
With this victory, the third-placed Chicken Inn have now moved to within nine points of log leaders FC Platinum, who have failed to pick maximum points in the last three matches.
They are now on 37 points and have kept their seven-point gap with second-placed Ngezi Platinum in the title race, which has truly entered the home stretch.
Chicken Inn coach Joey Antipas blamed the average performance of his team on the bad condition of the pitch. “We couldn’t play our normal game because of the minefield that we were playing on, but all-in-all, grinding the three points is what we came for,” Antipas said.
A fortnight ago after his team’s draw against Dynamos, Antipas appeared to throw in the towel in the title race, but after this win and the continued stuttering of FC Platinum, the narrative is changing.
Mutare City coach Matsika Ndega, whose financially struggling side are deep in relegation waters, admitted that it will be difficult to survive the chop after yet another defeat.
He was be encouraged though, by the performance of his team, who gave everything in this one and were just unlucky to come out empty handed.
“It’s now a bit difficult (to survive relegation). We need to start collecting points, we need to fight. The game is not yet over though because if you look at the table, we are not very far off. If we can get two wins, we will be up there on the ladder. Also the players need to be motivated,” Ndega said.
Chicken Inn got the ideal start to the match when Mucheneka tapped home from inside a crowded box after defenders had failed to clear their lines.
After the goal, the visitors sat back and allowed the home side to control the ball.