Magical Antonio propels DeMbare

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Bill Antonio celebrates after scoring a solo goal at the National Sports Stadium

BY HENRY MHARA

DYNAMOS . . . . . . .  . . …  (1)2

BLACK RHINOS . . . .. . . . (1)1

DYNAMOS teenager Bill Antonio enhanced his burgeoning reputation as the brightest prospect in the local game by scoring a brilliant individual goal to help his side break Black Rhinos resistance as the Harare giants notched their fifth win on the trot to cut the gap on log leaders Chicken Inn to one point.

With the match seemingly heading for a draw after Blessed Mbavarira’s retaken penalty on the 31st minute had cancelled Emmanuel Paga’s first minute opener for Dynamos, the 18-year-old took matters into his own hands with an eye-catching solo goal with five minutes remaining to breach the army side’s defence.

Receiving a hopeful ball from the back, the speedster looked to be heading nowhere near the corner flag. But he had other ideas. Using sheer speed and power, he turned his first marker and beat him for pace. He twisted and turned into the box, leaving two markers in his wake before expertly placing the ball away from the despairing hands of Blessing Mwandimutsira in the Rhinos goal.

A sizeable number of  supporters at the National Sports Stadium rose in unison to salute the former Prince Edward High School student, who has scored four goals in 10 matches this season.

His coach Tonderai Ndiraya was full of praise for the prodigy, describing the goal as “magical”.

“The way we got the second goal was magical,” Ndiraya enthused.

“Magic… magic, that is how I can describe the goal. We know what the boy can do. He is a good dribbler and he has shown us that today. And when you mix that with his power and pace then you get what you want in a striker. But for him to have done that was quite surprising.

“The game was heading for a draw and the boy had to do what he can do for us to get maximum points, and that is what we expect from all our players. When you play for this team, you got to do some things outside of what you have been instructed to do by the coach for the team to win, and Bill did that today and I am quite happy for him, and his teammates for the way they have supported him over these past months. I can sum up what he did in one word, which is magic.”

The victory means that Dynamos have collected 15 points from the past five matches played at the National Sports Stadium, to move to 22 points, one behind Chicken Inn who dropped two points on Saturday.

“Another win for us, and of course I’m happy with the result. Exactly, what we wanted. We wanted to take advantage of all the games that we were playing here (National Sports Stadium), to collect maximum points and that is what we have done. Credit to the boys and the whole Dynamos system for the support that they have given us in the last five matches,” Ndiraya said.

“It was a difficult match in the sense that our opponents came with a plan to kill the momentum each time we tried to attack. They did that especially in the first half. I think we played about 30 minutes of the 45 because of all the breakdowns.”

Some supporters were still to get their seats when Dynamos put their noses in front. Straight from the kick-off, a few exchanges of passes found Brendon Mpofu on the left channel, and the left-back sent in an inviting cross to pick out Paga who planted his header into the top right corner.

But Ndiraya’s men then took the foot off the pedal afterwards, allowing Rhinos to dominate the first half but without really troubling goalkeeper Taimon Mvula.

They found a way back when the returning Patson Jaure blocked a header using his hand and the referee pointed to the spot.

After an eight-minute delay as the two teams played mind games, Mbavarira finally stepped up to take the kick, but it was saved by Mvula. The first assistant referee adjudged that the goalkeeper had moved off his line, and the referee ordered a retake. Mbavarira again took responsibility and scored, but his teammates had encroached into the box before the kick was taken, which meant another retake which the defender coolly converted without trouble.

Dynamos looked to respond immediately, but Shadreck Nyahwa’s point blank header was tipped around the post by Mwandimutsira whose delaying tactics disrupted the flow of the match, with the goalie going down at every opportunity.

Gracious Mleya should have given Rhinos the lead on 51st minute but scooped over a rebound after Mvula had failed to gather a Tawanda Nyamandwe’s shot from range.

And with the match looking to be petering to a draw, Antonio, who had been anonymous this far, showed his class with a moment of brilliance that will surely show his stock shoot over the roof.

“It was a good show from the boys, they did very well after conceding an early goal, we managed to come back into the game,” Rhinos coach Hebert Maruwa said. “We defended well especially in the first half when they were coming hard on us. We managed to contain them and in the second half we could have scored, but we missed. We failed to defend well in the end. We gave too much room to the youngster. We had done well to contain him but with the only chance that he got, he managed to score. Our game plan was to frustrate them with delaying tactics and then we hit them hard.”

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