Munetsi dazzles on injury return

WARRIORS star Marshall Munetsi

WARRIORS star Marshall Munetsi scored on his return from injury to the Stade Reims line-up in the French Ligue 1 league, in a performance that boosted his chances of moving to a bigger league in the next transfer window.

The midfielder marked his return from a hip injury, which kept him out of action last week by scoring his team’s second goal in a 3-0 league mauling of Toulouse.

Japanese Junya Ito gave the home side a fourth-minute lead before Munetsi doubled the lead three minutes later with a powerful shot from a distance.

The woodwork would deny the Zimbabwean star his brace on 53rd minute, with another powerful shot rattling the crossbar.

Moroccan Yunis Abdelhamid headed in a third from a corner to complete the rout.

Munetsi’s goal was his fifth league goal of the season, the total league goals he scored last season.

He has now been directly involved in three goals in his last two outings, having also scored and assisted against Troyes the last time out.

The weekend goal saw the 26-year-old, who has been used as a defensive midfielder and a central defender at Reims this season, move to second on the club’s scoring chat behind striker and Arsenal loanee Folarin Balogun who has 15 goals.

Munetsi also has two assists to his name this season.

His brilliant performances this season will help enhance his chances of moving to the English Premier League (EPL), with a number of league teams reportedly monitoring his progress.

Brighton and Hove were the first to show their interest last year, but Reims refused to sell their star, who had a year left on his contract.

Instead, Les Rouges et Blanc decided to extend his deal, tying him down to a contract due to expire in 2026.

Transfermarkt values him at around €5m, but judging by his consistent performances this season, his market value is expected to continue rising.

Another EPL side Bournemouth also checked his availability during the January transfer window, but their request was rebuffed by Reims.

Reports also suggested that a number of championship sides, including Burnley and Watford, also showed interest, with the former publicly stating their desire, but they were also turned down.

But it is expected that the list of suitors for the Mabvuku-born player will increase in the summer transfer window, and Reims will likely be forced to cash in on one of their most prized assets.

Meanwhile, his fellow Warriors midfielder Marvelous Nakamba also returned to the starting line-up for his Championship side Luton Town, helping them to a crucial 1-0 victory over Birmingham City.

The 29-year-old, who is on loan from EPL side Aston Villa, played the full match after recovering from a groin stress that saw him being substituted in the match against Burnley last week.

Luton coach Rob Edwards has been impressed by Nakamba’s impact since joining the club in January, describing the midfielder as a “Duracell battery”.

“He is like a Duracell battery, he just keeps going and going and going and going and going. He covers the pitch so well, smells the danger and is really calm with the ball. I’m delighted with him.”

The club is yet to lose a match with Nakamba on the field.

Luton’s win saw them bounce back from the 1-0 defeat to Burnely, and returned to sixth place on the log table.

They would be hoping to maintain a position inside the top six until the end of the season to qualify for the promotion play-offs.

The two teams that finish top in the Championship race, currently occupied by runaway leaders Burnley and Sheffield United, get automatic promotion to the EPL, while teams from third position to sixth contest in a playoff to secure the third promotion ticket.

Still in England, Jordan Zemura played the whole match as Bournemouth were mauled 4-0 at home by Manchester City in the EPL on Saturday, a costly defeat that saw them dropping into the relegation zone.

The Cherries are now second from the bottom on the log standings with 21 points from 24 matches.

Three bottom teams at the end of the season will be relegated to the Championship.

In Spain, Tino Kadewere started for the second time in a row, but could not inspire Mallorca to victory this time, as they were beaten 2-1 away at Espanyol on Saturday.

The Warriors striker was looking to score his second goal of the season, having broken his duck in the 4-2 victory over Villarreal last week.

With the goal, he made history by becoming the first Zimbabwean to score a goal in La Liga.

Against Espanyol, Kadewere was substituted in the 69th minute.

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