Rhinos demolish Bullets

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BY HENRY MHARA IN MHONDORO-NGEZI

Cranborne Bullets . . . (1)1

Black Rhinos . . . . . . .  . (3) 3

Black Rhinos piled more pressure on underfire Cranborne Bullets coach Nesbert Saruchera as Farai Banda led the way with two goals in the battle of army teams fought at Baobab Stadium in Mhondoro-Ngezi yesterday.

The Rhinos skipper Banda beat his own goalkeeper Blessing Mwandimutsira 10 minutes into the match to give Bullets an early lead.

Two minutes later, he equalised for his side before Eli Ilunga put Rhinos in front on 41 minutes.

Gracious Muleya made sure of the win at the stroke of halftime.

The victory moves Rhinos to nine points, four behind of leaders Manica Diamonds.

Craneborne Bullets on the other hand, are second from the bottom with two points from their six matches.

Pressure is beginning to mount on coach Saruchera, whose team is still winless in their debut season.

“We didn’t play well,” Saruchera conceded. “We are affected by injuries and we are just praying that by the time we play the next match, most of the guys will be back. We had to play a lot of youngsters today so in terms of the quality expected at this level, we were a bit short. We are going to make sure that we collect maximum points in the next match so that we move up the standings. We don’t want to be relegated in our first year in the league.”

Rhinos coach Hebert Maruwa was happy that his side won the bragging rights in this army derby.

“It’s always good to get three points, especially against our young brothers. We are happy we got the maximum points, now we have to quickly shift focus to our next match against FC Platinum,” Maruwa said.

“We showed mental strength because when we conceded an own goal, the guys quickly came back into the game and managed to get an equaliser at the right time. After getting the equaliser, we didn’t change the tempo and we got the second and third goal and then closed shop.”

Saruchera’s men, gripped by injuries to key men including regulars Lincoln Zvasiya, Wonder Kapinda, Douglas Mbewe, Colly Gonyora and Moreblessing Mashanishani, got an ideal start to the match when Banda headed past his goalkeeper.

But that lead didn’t last long as Banda popped at the other end and riffled into the roof of the net after the defenders had failed to deal with a cross into the box.

Towering forward Ilunga gave Rhinos a deserved lead when he received the ball with his back on goal inside the box before turning sharply and fired past goalkeeper Tatenda Makoni.

It got even better for Chauya Chipembere when Mleya rolled the ball into the net from a rebound after Keith Madera’s shot had came off the upright.

Bullets had a genuine appeal for a penalty early in the second half when Everson Feremba was hacked down inside the penalty area, but the referee looked the other way.

At the other end, Madera’s shot was cleared off the line as Rhinos threatened to run amok.

No further goals were scored in this entertaining encounter but Craneborne Bullets will have to deal with another injury setback after goalkeeper Makoni dislocated his shoulder in injury time and it is feared that he could be out for some weeks.

Teams:

Cranborne Bullets: T Makoni (E Nechiturike, 92′), T Kachembere, K Chidonza, X Janatana, T Ruziye, T Charakupa, K Chiripawako, K Mureremba (W Yusufu, 85′), M Mudzuka, E Feremba, T Meke (B Muzondiwa, 85′)

Black Rhinos: B Mwandimutsira, B Mbavarira, F Banda, G Madhake, P Makaha, A Phiri, G Mleya (N Padzarondora, 90′), K Madera (N Mangala, 75′), P Gweva (L Chiwunga, 75′), E Ilunga (C Brighton, 90′), S Murove (A Gahadzikwa, 82′)

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