Chicken Inn choke

HARARE - Chicken Inn’s hopes for a maiden championship title in topflight football suffered a major dent after they failed to collect maximum points against relegation-haunted Tsholotsho here yesterday.

The Gamecocks were expected to put a distance between themselves and the chasing pack of FC Platinum and Dynamos, respectively, but, instead, left the pitch disappointed in themselves.

Defending champions Dynamos’ hopes were hugely lifted after they narrowed the gap to four points, knowing that any slip-up by the Gamecocks in their next home game against Harare City, would see the title being decided on the final match day.

It is a route that DeMbare have walked before — three times in the last four years — and fully know how to negotiate hair-raising moments when the Fat Lady sings.

Chicken Inn lead the standings with 55 points, while FC Platinum are on 53 points and Dynamos jumped from 48 points to 51 — pointing to a likely last day drama as has been the case in recent seasons.

Yesterday, was Chicken Inn’s second successive draw in the Castle Lager Premiership after being frustrated two weeks ago by relegated Whawha and they had to come back from behind to salvage a point in yesterday’s encounter as a gutsy Tsholotsho, who are also fighting for survival, played brilliantly to aid their cause knowing fully that every point they pick along the way will be vital for their survival in the topfilght.

Lizwe Sweswe’s side took the lead right on the stroke of halftime when Simbarashe Gorogodyo finished off a rebound after Gamecocks goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze had parried Lynoth Chikuhwa’s header off a corner from Joel Luphahla.

Joey Antipas’ men, however, returned from the breather a rejuvenated side and were on level terms in the 51st minute after Michelle Katsvairo headed home Edmore Chirambadare’s cross.

The equaliser immediately triggered panic in the Tsholotsho camp as they began losing possession unnecessarily with the Gamecocks turning on the screws.

The immense push by Chicken Inn unfortunately came to naught as Tsholotsho stubbornly refused to yield.

And Antipas duly gave credit to his opponents.

“It was a very difficult game, played on difficult conditions that is to say the pitch was unfavourable,” Antipas said.

“Credit goes to Tsholotsho, they played a good game but I also want to give credit to my boys who also managed to come back.”

His opposite number, Sweswe said although they wanted a full set of points to ease relegation worries, a point was better off than nothing at all.

Tsholotsho are now on 30 points and remain one place above the last relegation slot.

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