Chicken Inn…….(0) 1
Ngezi Platinum… (1) 1
CHICKEN Inn continued with their unbeaten run although they dropped points after they were held by visiting Ngezi Platinum Stars in a captivating Castle Lager Premier Soccer League encounter at Luveve Stadium yesterday.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
The match was delayed by 20 minutes as Ngezi protested the use of first assistant referee Major Mususa, with the visitors arguing there was a conflict of interest since he is related to FC Platinum general manager Joseph Mususa.
However, after engagement with match commissioner Mlindeli Ndebele, the match kicked off 20 minutes late.
“We questioned his [Major’s] impartiality. We wanted to protect ourselves and protect him as well. But we are happy that the message was sent,” Ngezi Platinum coach Tonderai Ndiraya said after the match.
Ngezi Platinum are in contention for the title with log leaders FC Platinum, who opened a four-point lead yesterday after a home win over Chapungu.
Back to the match, which Ngezi Platinum finished with 10 men after Clive Augusto was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence for rough play in the 66th minute, the game started off slowly after the delay with sporadic chances from either side.
Notable was a Malon Mushonga shot on the half-hour mark for Ngezi, with Chicken Inn getting their fair share of chances through Last Sithole, George Majika and Obriel Chirinda to the end of the first half.
Majika had the game of his life giving the Ngezi Platinum defence a torrid time.
But Ngezi Platinum broke the deadlock four minutes before half-time with a header by Keith Murera from a Godknows Murwira corner-kick.
Chicken Inn equalised in the 51st minute through a Moses Majika header in a goalmouth scramble after a well-taken corner-kick by the elusive and impressive Majika as the hosts piled on pressure.
After the goal, Chicken Inn dominated the game, raiding Ngezi Platinum at will, but the goals just could not come.
Coach Joey Antipas felt it was a match they could have easily won.
“It was two points dropped. We controlled the game and came out all guns blazing in the second half. It’s a game that we should have won,” Antipas said.
His counterpart Ndiraya was happy with the point.
“It is a point gained. Chicken Inn are not pushovers and they have been playing well of late. I can only give credit to my boys for defending well especially when we were a man down,” Ndiraya said.
Ngezi are now on 48 points, four behind FC Platinum, with Chicken Inn, on a seven-match unbeaten run, chasing on 41 points.
Chicken Inn: P Zendera, P Bernard, B Nyahunzvi, O Tarumbwa (N Mutatiwa 73’), M Jackson, I Nyabinde, G Majika (K Nasama 85’), I Mucheneka, O Chirinda, C Matawu, L Sithole
Ngezi Platinum: N Chadya, T Chipunza, L Chakoroma, K Bulaji, M Mushonga, K Murera, F Makarati, W Mukanga (P Moyo 99+3’), J Nguluve (S Owusu 77’), C Augusto, G Murwira