BY HENRY MHARA IN RUSAPE
Tenax . . . . . . . . . . (1)1
Chicken Inn . . . . . . .0
CHICKEN Inn missed a golden opportunity to close the gap on leaders FC Platinum after they were beaten by Tenax at Vengere Stadium in Rusape yesterday.
Man-of-the-match Panashe Mutasa scored the only goal of the match on the 24th minute to inflict a second straight defeat on the second-placed GameCocks who also suffered a demoralising 3-0 loss to log leaders FC Platinum last week.
Victory would have taken them within two points of their main rivals in the race, but the Joey Antipas-coached men were frustrated by a Tenax side who moved out of relegation following yesterday’s shock win.
Chicken Inn remain on 35 points, while FC Platinum have 43 points after their 1-0 win over Bulawayo Chiefs on Saturday.
Antipas was not happy with the state of the pitch which he said played a part in his team’s defeat.
“Another defeat, two in a row, is very disappointing,” Antipas said.
“It was very difficult to play on this pitch. I’m not looking for excuses, but we are a ball playing side so it was very difficult to try to play football on this pitch. We couldn’t play our normal game. It’s a type of a game we had to adjust to a long ball and the second ball and we didn’t do well enough. We were always slow to the second ball and that is what killed us. The goal we conceded we could have avoided it but it was slack marking in the box. Our play was not good enough.
“But we give full credit to Tenax, they fought and wanted to win and they won because they were hungrier than us. We tried everything to come back into the match, but got nothing. It’s one of those games that things didn’t work out for us.”
Tenax coach Shadreck Mugurasave was naturally thrilled by the victory which arrested a three-match losing streak.
“I’m happy for the boys and the team. We lost the last three matches and I hope this win will boost our confidence going forward. I’m surprised by how my boys played today because sometime they don’t play this much. They sometime act as if they don’t want to play, but today they were excellent. We pressed them hard and they couldn’t play. We forced them to play the long ball and we defended well,” Mugurasave said.
Tenax are now on 14th position on the log with 20 points, one above relegation zone.
After log leaders FC Platinum had won their match on Saturday, Chicken Inn needed to react with a victory yesterday, but they failed to get going on a bumpy Vengere pitch.
Mutasa, who was excellent all afternoon, made the visitors’ task even harder when he found the net midway through the first half.
Leftback Carlos “Marcelo” Musimwa did the hard part when he beat his marker on the left before providing a pitch of a cross which Mutasa simply tapped home.
Chances were few and far between in a rather flat first half performance for both sides.
Chicken Inn, however, improved in the second half and created a good chance in the opening minute.
Bret Amidi got to an end of a cross, but headed straight at Tenax keeper Phillip Makumi from inside the box.
Moments later, the visitors would get their best chance of the game when Brian Muza released Malvin Whata with a through ball to run clear, but the lanky striker shot straight at the grateful Makumi who used his legs to block the effort.
At the other end, Chicken Inn goalkeeper Benard Donovan was tested by a good shot from 19-year old Aristotle Manyamba before Chicken Inn substitute Clive Augusto dragged his shot wide from a good range.
Antipas’ men pushed hard for an equaliser later on, but Tenax managed to hold onto the precious three points.
- Follow Henry on Twitter @henrymhara