Ngezi still in it

Highlanders…………………………..(1) 1
Ngezi Platinum……………………..(1) 2

BULAWAYO - Ngezi Platinum Stars kept pressure on Castle Lager Premiership log leaders FC Platinum when they beat Bulawayo giants Highlanders in a thrilling match here yesterday.

Godknows Murwira’s late strike in the second half handed Ngezi maximum points in a tightly contested encounter that had a frantic start.

Madamburo raced into an early lead after just two minutes through Michael Charamba while Bosso equalised two minutes later through Gabriel Nyoni.

With yesterday’s result, Ngezi Platinum remain in second place with 54 points and trail FC Platinum, who beat Mutare City Rovers 6-0 on Saturday, by four with only nine games to go before the season ends.

Ngezi coach Tonderai Ndiraya was pleased with the way his side bounced back following last weekend’s shock 1-0 loss to lowly Mutare City.

“I just want to express my gratitude on the manner my team did on the field of play; it was a tough match for us especially coming from a defeat against a small team,” a relieved Ndiraya said.

“We were under a bit of pressure; for a club like us to beat Highlanders, a team which such good history is commendable. What is more important at the end of the day is the three points that we got.”

This was the first time in Ngezi’s history to complete a double over Highlanders since their promotion in 2016 after having won the reverse encounter at Baobab Stadium earlier this year.

Bosso technical manager Madinda Ndlovu said: “It’s a big blow, not only to us as a team but to Highlanders as a family. We were not looking towards such a result. They got an early goal and a mistake as well. We have been conceding early goals in recent matches.

“We did come into the game; we had good moments. We really looked like a team that was going to score. There are moments like this in football and it happens, we have to work on our shortcomings.”

Ngezi got the best possible start they could have imagined when Charamba took advantage of Highlanders defenders’ sloppy marking to score the opener for the visitors.

Two minutes later, Highlanders equalised through Nyoni when Ngezi goalkeeper Bernard Donovan failed to handle Adrian Silla’s long range effort.

Nyoni reacted first to pounce on the rebound with the Ngezi defenders failing to protect their goalkeeper.

Play started to swing from end to end with both sets of players showing some brilliance in terms of build-ups which was a joy to watch to the fans.

Nyoni almost scored the second seven minutes before the break but this time around, Bernard did well to hang onto the striker’s effort from inside the box.

In the second half, wing back Nielson Ketala missed a glorious opportunity to put Ngezi ahead 10 minutes after the resumption but directed his effort wide under challenge from Silla with Highlanders goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda off his goal.

Madamburo finally got the winning goal 15 minutes from time when Murwira’s long range free kick took an awkward bounce to deceive Sibanda.

The Bosso keeper tried to stop the ball but it hit his hand and sailed into the net to give Ngezi maximum points.

TEAMS

Highlanders: Ariel Sibanda, Charlton Siamalonga, MacClive Phiri, Adrain Silla, Banda Banda (Newman Sianchali 63m), Peter Muduhwa, Mbongeni Ndlovu, Tafadzwa Sibanda (Godfrey Makaruse 73m), Gabriel Nyoni, Denzel Khumalo, Nigel Makumbe

Ngezi Platinum: Donovan Bernard, Nielson Ketala, Polite Moyo, Kelvin Bulaji, Tichaona Chipunza, Keith Murera, Frank Makarati, Malon Mushonga, James Nguluve (Tatenda Mchisa 89m), Michael Charamba, Godknows Murwira

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