Monoz in Mbada final

MUTARE - Stand-in Monomotapa captain Kuda Musharu’s solitary goal a minute into the second half was enough to overpower FC Platinum and steer the 2008 Zimbabwe champions into their first Mbada Diamonds Cup final.

Yesterday’s defeat was Platinum’s second defeat in the semi-finals of Zimbabwe’s richest knockout tournament for the second year running.

The Zvishavane side were booted out 1-0 by Dynamos at Barbourfields Stadium at the same stage last year in the inaugural tourney handled by South African referees.

Yesterday Monomotapa displayed the same attacking brand of football that has been their trademark this season and could have scored a goal as early as the third minute but Hillary Mugoniwa missed from close range after being set up by midfielder Ronald Chitiyo.

 Five minutes later Musharu’s header was parried for a corner before Osborn Mukuradare hit the bar from the resultant corner.

 Monomotapa dominated possession in the opening 20 minutes in which Chitiyo engineered numerous raids towards FC Platinum goal.

The closest FC Platinum came to scoring in the first half was when towering striker Donald Ngoma’s weak effort beat impressive Monoz goalie Mukandi after 37 minutes but defender Jimmy Tigere was on hand to clear the danger.

After numerous near misses in the first half the stage was set for Musharu to break the deadlock in the very first minute of the second stanza.

 The former Motor Action striker received the ball just outside the box, and with no defenders in attendance, he raced towards goal before lobbing the ball over the drawn out Platinum goalie Tafadzwa Dube.

FC Platinum coach Tendai Chikuni responded  to the setback by sending in in Charles Sibanda and Allan Gahadzikwa for Manondo and Joel Ngodzo in the 59th minute and the move added impetus to his side’s attack.

 Just a minute after the changes, Ngoma ‘s header was saved by man of the match Mukandi .

 Moments later, Mukandi made  a double save to deny marauding Platinum.

 When Mukandi saved Ali Sadiki’s powerful free kick after Ngoma had been fouled by Morgen Mungombe just outside the box, it became clear that the Zvishavane side would once again fall at the semi final stage for the second year running.

Monomotapa coach Biggie Zuze praised his team’s efforts.

 “We deserved to win the match after an all- round display and had we

 been lucky we could have scored at least two goals in the first 15 minutes,” Zuze said.

 “We are happy to be in the final and with this type of football am sure we can go all the way and win the Cup if we can just maintain our confidence.”

 His opposite number Tendai Chikuni of FC Platinum gave credit to Monomotapa goalkeeper for shutting out his team’s raids.

 “We can’t say we were dominated by Monomotapa; their keeper made the difference. Were it not for his saves we could have scored many goals,” Chikuni said.

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