Ngezi Platinum eye double with Herentals win

Chiragwi said he was pleased with his side’s effort before heaping praise on Mariyoni

HERENTALS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0

NGEZI PLATINUM STARS . . . . . . . . 0

(Ngezi Platinum Stars won 5-4 on penalties) 

NGEZI Platinum Stars kept their league and Cup double dream alive after beating Herentals in a Chibuku Super Cup quarter-final at the National Sports Stadium yesterday.

Second-choice goalkeeper Chang Mariyoni emerged the hero after producing a number of jaw-dropping saves including during the penalty shootout when he denied Ali Maliselo kick.

Given his first start this season in the absence of Nelson Chadya who was away on national duty, Mariyoni produced two world-class saves to keep out Tafadzwa Jimu's efforts in the opening minute and late in the game.

Tino Benza and Davison Marowa, who were also with the Warriors in Botswana where they played a friendly match, flew in just in time for the game and combined to almost produce a late winner after they were both introduced in the second half.

However, Marowa miscued a Benza cutback well wide with the goal gapping.

At the other end, Ngezi Platinum Stars who by their coach’s own admission produced a below par perfomance, had a genuine shout for a penalty when Ellson Mweha was brought down inside the box, but the referee waved play on.

A penalty shootout was required to separate the two, with Mariyoni making sure that his team progressed to the semi-finals after going down well on his left to block  Maliselo's tame kick.

Blessing Majarira, William Kapumha, Clemence Gobvu and Peter Choto all had successful kicks for Herentals.

Ngezi Platinum Stars converted theirs through Nigel Makumbe, Kudzai Chigwida, Valentine Kadonzvo, Takunda Benhura and Malvern Gaki who netted the decisive kick as the current log leaders sailed through to the semi-finals to join Black Rhinos, Dynamos and Caps United.

The victory means Ngezi Platinum, who lead the log table in the league with 10 rounds of matches left, continue to fight on two fronts.

Chiragwi said he was pleased with his side’s effort before heaping praise on Mariyoni

"He is one of our goalkeepers and unfortunately we play with one goalkeeper. If we could be allowed to have two inside the field, all the goalkeepers that we have are capable of playing at any given time. He (Mariyoni) was waiting for this opportunity and he showed that he is a good goalkeeper. It shows the health of this team, every department has a good cover. There is competition in the team, and it showed today when we fielded players who are not participating regularly."

Also absent in the Ngezi Platinum Stars line-up yesterday was captain Qadr Amini who was with the Warriors.

"Today it was difficult from the first whistle. We didn't play our normal game, I don't know what happened. When you see six or seven of your players not doing well, then you know it’s not your day. We accepted that and I just told my players, don't concede, and try to keep on pushing.

“They did that and eventually we got to the penalties and fortunately we managed to win. That was the most important thing for us to go through. We now concentrate on the semi-final game and the league game coming up on Wednesday. We are happy and we really appreciate the work these guys are putting in. We really need all the cups, it's important to the players. That is exactly why we are playing football," Chiragwi said.

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