IT took Ngezi Platinum an entire 90 minutes to fashion the first shot on target as they struggled in wet conditions, and when it came, it delivered the three points against Chicken Inn as they maintained their perfect start to the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season at Baobab yesterday.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
Ngezi Platinum ……. (0) 1
Chicken Inn…………. (0) 0
Striker Clive Augusto scored the dramatic late winner that ensured the league pacesetters made it five wins out of five matches as the Mhondoro-based side continues to make its title ambitions very clear.
For the better part of the match, Chicken Inn had been the better side and even more majestic in defence.
One cannot help, but feel for defender Kudzai Chideu, whose mistake allowed Augusto to break the Chicken Inn hearts.
Ngezi have now accrued 15 points and their defence is yet to concede a goal.
“I am glad that the boys fought for the points all the way. I said it in my pre-match briefing that we want to go for our fifth win and that is what we have done,” a relieved Tonderai Ndiraya said after the match.
“It was not a beautiful performance but it’s important to grind out wins even when you are not playing well,” he added.
A downpour just before kickoff rendered the match cagey with both sides failing to play a fluid game.
Kelvin Bulaji was playing in the right-back position for Ngezi in the absence of Godknows Murwira, who was involved in a car accident earlier in the week.
It was not until halfway through the first half that Ngezi Platinum goalkeeper Donovan Bernard made the first save of the day, diving low to keep out Clemence Matawu’s shot.
Ngezi failed to test Elvis Chipezeze for the entire half, only coming close when Moses Jackson’s miscued clearance off a Michael Charamba cross trickled just wide.
Chicken Inn maintained the upper hand early in the second half and Darryl Nyandoro unbelievably blazed his effort wide after he was sent through by Matawu in the 58th minute.
Augusto almost produced a moment of magic for the hosts in the 70th minute, checking inside from the left and letting fly a curling shot that agonisingly crashed off the upright post.
From then on Ngezi launched raid after raid into the Chicken Inn goal area, but the visitors’ defence held fort.
But the walls came crashing down when Chideu failed to control a harmless-looking ball and Augusto gathered and slotted past Chipezeze in added time.
“Football is very cruel, that’s what happens. You make one mistake and you are punished. Otherwise I was impressed by how the boys played,” visitors’ coach Joey Antipas said after the match.
The heart breaking defeat was Chicken Inn’s first this season.
Ngezi Platinum: Bernard D, Bulaji K, Chakoroma L, Murera K, Mukanga W, Dzvukamanja T (Mushonga M 90′), Augusto C, Charamba M (Ngulube J 82′) Moyo X (Mabvura T 65′), Mukarati F, Chipunza T
Chicken Inn: Chipezeze E, Bernard P, Lunga D, Chideu K, Jackson M, Mucheneka Nyandoro D, Matawu C, Ndlovu X, Goredema T, Tarumbwa O (Chirinda O, 73′)