BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
TWO early goals from veteran striker Kuda Musharu and Ishmael Wadi helped Harare City complete a double over Chicken Inn, thereby, denting the Gamecocks’ title aspirations in an entertaining Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match at Rufaro Stadium yesterday.
Chicken Inn were looking to maintain pressure on leaders Caps United, who went into yesterday’s fixture with a four-point advantage as the league season draws to a close.
Last week, the Bulawayo-based side, under the tutelage of Warriors coach Joey Antipas, narrowly beat Caps at Barbourfields to throw the title race wide open.
And in Harare City, they were up against a side fighting to steer away from relegation following two consecutive wins.
Musharu thrust the hosts into the lead with the first shot of the match inside 13 minutes, capitalising on some lethargic defending by the away side.
Three minutes later, Wadi doubled the lead from the penalty spot after a handling offence by Simon Munawa, who was trying to clear the ball.
Coached by Antipas’ assistant in the Warriors, Lloyd Chitembwe, Harare City comfortably defended their two goals.
Antipas had few kind words for his charges after the match.
“We deserved it (the loss). Harare City were the better side throughout the 90 minutes. We just didn’t pitch up for the party. Our performance has been topsy-turvy, one week brilliant and the next poor,” Antipas said.
“If you look at the goal we conceded, Christmas came early for Harare City. It was poor defending at its worst. Our guys had no desire to get back into the game. You can have a team that has four players trying to fight and playing their hearts out, where are the other seven?” he fumed.
It was a match between two teams known for their penchant for a rousing brand of passing football, but the visitors never got the chance to settle in the match.
George Majika could have pulled a goal back in the first half, but his curling free kick was palmed out of play by an alert Max Nyamupanedengu.
Valentine Kadonzvo drew another vital stop from the hosts goalkeeper at the near post after he was sent through by Brett Amidu.
Wadi had a seemingly genuine penalty shout waved away by referee Norman Matemera in the 58th minute.
“It was a good professional performance from the boys. I thought the first half was perfect because we played like an organised team. What impressed me the most is that we didn’t make as many technical mistakes as we normally do,” Chitembwe said.
Harare City: M Nyamupanedengu, W Manondo (T Tavengwa 81’), K Musharu (W Muvirimi 90’), T Chimwemwe, I Wadi (D Masukuta 86’), M Diro-Nyenye, R Uchena, W Mukanga, M Muchenje, M Vengesai, H Chapusha
Chicken Inn: D Bernard, P Bernard, X Ndlovu, S Munawa (S Ndlovu 46’), M Jackson, T Chipunza, V Kadonzvo (M Gaki 70’), G Majika, O Chirinda, B Amidu (C Matawu 46’)