Ngezi widen lead

The goal came just when it looked like Yadah would escape with a point from Mhondoro Ngezi, a result that could have severely damaged the log leader's title hopes.

Ngezi Platinum Stars  . . . . . . . (0) 1

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DEFENDER Kudzai Chigwida was the hero for Ngezi Platinum Stars as his dramatic late winner against relegation threatened Yadah at Baobab Stadium yesterday kept the log leaders in control of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League title race.

The towering defender was the unlikely scorer in the 87th minute, smashing in a left foot shot from a rebound after Takunda Benhura's effort had been blocked by the visitors goalkeeper, Marshal Takarinda.

The goal came just when it looked like Yadah would escape with a point from Mhondoro Ngezi, a result that could have severely damaged the log leader's title hopes.

Ultimately, nothing much changed in the title race as the Takesure Chiragwi-coached side kept rivals at an arm's length.

With this victory, his team moved to 57 points, eight clear of Dynamos with five matches remaining. DeMbare has played a game less, though.

Chiragwi conceded the victory was desperately needed after they lost their last match to Dynamos midweek. He went on to heap praise on his skipper Chigwida for coming to the rescue.

"It's a good win, very difficult because these guys were resilient in terms of wanting to win," Chiragwi said. "They were throwing everything at us, but we didn't change our normal play. We put them under a lot of pressure in the second half and created a number of chances and ended up getting the crucial goal from Kudzai Chigwida. He scored when it mattered most; his experience came in when the situation was tough.

“He showed the maturity and the leadership which is good for the team. I’m happy we collected maximum points because we really needed them, especially when playing at home."

The loss kept Yadah in relegation danger, as they remain third from the bottom with 31 points.

Their coach Takaendesa Jongwe thought his boys gave their all, and were unfortunate to lose the match.

"We live to fight another day," he said.

This was a clash of two teams desperate for points for two totally different reasons, and it showed in the frantic opening minutes when chances were aplenty for both sides in this entertaining match, but the players took turns to miss.

Yadah's Tawanda Musariri shot ambitiously at goal after two minutes into the match, but could not keep his effort down.

At the other end, Gareth Madhake and Tapiwa Mandinyenya came close. The home side's top goal scorer, Benhura, had the best chance in the first half, but his glancing header went just wide.

Bruno Mtigo should have given the hosts the lead two minutes after the break, but misdirected his header wide, before Marvelous Faranando cleared off the line to keep Yadah in the game.

Ngezi goalkeeper Nelson Chadya pulled a good save in the 64th minutes when Yadah threatened to take the lead.

Chiragwi's men thought they had finally scored in the 81st minute when the ball hit the back of the net in a crowded box following a Qadr Amini corner kick, but the referee disallowed the effort for an infringement.

Six minutes later, Chigwida stole the show when he stabbed a rebound home from close range, a goal which will certainly give Madamburo more belief in the title race.


Ngezi Platinum Stars: N Chadya, K Chigwida, G Madhake, P Moyo, E Mweha (Q Amini, 56'), F Madhanaga, T Mandinyenya, T Benhura, L Kashitigu (M Mukumba, 46'), B Mtigo (N Makumbe, 56'), D Murimba

Yadah: M Takarinda, L Mucheto, K Nadolo (W Kamudyariwa, 23'), C Mandivei, B Kadamanja, E Saidi, T Musariri, M Faranando, J Zindoga (R Chifura, 83'), C Moffat (Deivid, 83'), J Chipangura


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