Zireni stars in Bantu win

BULAWAYO - Bantu Rovers defender Proud Zireni scored an unconventional hat-trick in his side’s 2-1 win over city rivals Chicken Inn in a Castle premiership match here yesterday.

Zireni opened the scoring for Tshintsha Guluva in the 22nd minute but he quickly turned from hero to villain 14 minutes later when he scored an own goal to equalise for the Gamecocks.

The former Quelaton defender was not finished though. He found the back of the net at the right end in the 85th minute when he scored Bantu’s winner.

After the match, Zireni was not emotionally affected by his rollercoaster performance and attributed the victory to teamwork.

“It does not matter now because we won at the end of the day. I think we played well as a team and as a result victory was all we needed,” he said.

Rovers assistant Mandla Mpofu was happy with the result. This was Tshintsha Guluva’s first win after three consecutive defeats.

“We really played to win and this is a result we are happy. It was a good result after we had gone for three games without a win.

“It’s a marathon, we are still young and we will continue giving our best for us to win.”

Back to the game, Zireni headed Rovers into the lead after capitalising on a blunder by Chicken Inn goalie Liberty Chirava, who fumbled Lawson Nkomo’s corner kick.

The home side’s lead was shortly lived as both teams went into the halftime break tied 1-1 after Zireni beat his own goalkeeper Takunda Mutangi when he tried to control a dangerous cross with his chest.

With the match seemingly headed for a draw, Zireni intervened again when he headed home a long throw in from Fortune Ncube to beat Chirava for the second time.

Earlier in the second half, both sides were reduced to 10-man referee Thabani Bhamala sent off a player Lawson Nkomo and Ishamel Lawe.

First to get his marching orders was Nkomo, who was shown a straight red card for a lunge on Chicken Inn forward Canaan Nkomo on 56 minutes.

Nine minutes later, the Gamecocks were also reduced to 10-man when Lawe was adjudged to have unlawfully challenge Bantu goalie Takunda.

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