BY TERRY MADYAUTA
REFEREE Tabani Bamala denied Chapungu bragging rights in the Gweru derby after he denied Phillip Marufu what looked like a genuine goal in the second half of an evenly balanced Castle Lager Premier Soccer League tie that ended 0-0 at Ascot Stadium yesterday.
TelOne came into the match desperately needing maximum points to ease their relegation fears in this ding-dong homestretch, but their city-town rivals were rather determined to throw spanners on their works.
With the mercurial Denver Mukamba out due to suspension, the derby did not live up to expectations, as both sides were too cautious in their approach and very slow to come out of their shells.
Simply put, there was nothing to write home about in the first half, save for one onslaught that was initiated by King Nadolo, with his goal-bound effort from close range timely cleared on the line by Moenda Muchingami.
The WiFi boys, however, began the second stanza on the front foot, with Emmanuel Mandiranga giving the airmen a torrid time. At one point the former Dynamos winger hit the crossbar with a sizzling effort on the 48-minute mark.
The boiling point of the match then came on the 64-minute mark when Chapungu were denied what looked like a genuine goal when Marufu was adjudged to have scored from an offside position by referee, following a neat and fluid interchange of passes that was crafted by Edmore Muzanenhamo and Ian Nyoni.
Following the share of spoils, Chapungu moved to 10th position with 35 points while TelOne dropped from position 12 to 14th position with 29 points.
TelOne assistant coach Llyod Mutasa, standing in for Rahman Gumbo said they were happy with the result.
“We wanted to win this match, but derbies being derbies we have to be satisfied with the final result,” said Mutasa.
“We were supposed to be hungrier than them looking at the log standings and also considering that we lost our last match against. But we must take positives from the point picked.”
His counterpart Weddington Chinyan’anya bemoaned the late notification about Mukamba’s suspension.
“Denver is a good player and we expected him to be key in this match, but the last minute changes disturbed our game plan,” he said.
TelOne: R Pitisi, M Chigumira, T Nyabinde, C Mutero, I Zambezi, E Zinyama, T Sibanda, T Sibanda( B Sibanda 89’), K Nadolo, E Mandiranga, D Mangesi, F Muza( J Jam 24’).
Chapungu: T Shumba, E Chitauro, H Mugoniwa, M Muchingami, B Mbavarira, E Muzanenhamo, G Mleya, I Nyoni (B Muzondiwa 82’), P Khumbula (B Mugoni 55’), P Marufu, T Chitora ( M Mavuto 55’).