Gunners edge Chicken Inn

GWANDA - Ishmael Lawe scored an injury time winner to send Gunners through to the quarter-finals of the Mbada Diamonds Cup in a tightly contested first round 3-2 win over Chicken Inn at Pelandaba Stadium yesterday.

The youthful Gunners made their intentions clear from the onset by racing to an early lead when Valentine Ndaba headed past Chicken Inn goalkeeper Njabulo Nyoni after only three minutes.

Skilful winger Munyaradzi Chiwara provided the assist for the goal when he roasted Chicken Inn left back Brian Mbiriri before crossing into the box for Ndaba to head home.

Chicken Inn midfielder Makhosi Ncube had a chance to equalise for his side after 10 minutes but his long range effort was tipped over the bar by Gunners goalkeeper Clayton Dombo.

Tapiwa Dephistara then had his cracker punched back into play by Nyoni and Ndaba failed to properly connect the rebound and the ball went out of play.

Chicken managed to draw level after 27 minutes when Dombo failed to deal with a long ball from Mbiriri and Evans Chikwaikwai slid home the equaliser.

After the break the Gamecocks took the lead when right back Moses Jackson finished off a free kick taken by Ncube that had been redirected onto his path by man-of-the-match Sydney Linyama.

Ten minutes later, Gunners were back on level terms after Chicken Inn defender Felix Chindungwe failed to clear a cross from Gunners left back Wesley Matute.

Dephistara ghosted in from the blind side to score past Nyoni.

The goal saw the Harare side taking control of the game with their crisp passing that was concentrated on the flanks.

Chicken Inn then brought in Young Warriors midfielder Kuda Mahachi for Canaan Nkomo on 61 minutes in a bid to rescue the game but the move did not bear dividends as they failed to take control of the midfield.

The hard running Tendai Ndoro also came in for Ncube on 70 minutes but still the winner refused to come.

Chikwaikwai did get a chance to grab the winner on the stroke of 90 minutes but failed to connect to a cross from Ndoro.

By then with the crowd that had braved the chilly weather at Pelandaba was waiting for referee Makonese Masakadza to blow for full time and take the match to a penalty shoot-out.

But Lawe had the last say when he struck in injury time to send his side through to the quarter-finals where they will meet Dynamos who prevailed over Quelaton.

After the match Gunners coach Moses Chunga hailed his charges for their victory.

“I am happy with the way the boys managed to fight back and win the match and I hope this victory will serve as a morale booster going forward in the season,” Chunga said.

Chicken Inn goalkeepers coach Julius Ndlovu said his side had lost because their midfield had played second fiddle to the Gunners midfield. - Sakheleni Nxumalo

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