Tadious Manyepo Sports Reporter
JUST a week after inspiring Herentals to their first victory of the season at the same venue, midfielder Juan Mutudza was again in mesmerising form in this goalless Castle Lager Premier Soccer League stalemate at Rufaro yesterday.
The talented 20-year-old scored the solitary goal which delivered the first set of maximum points for Herentals this term against Dynamos last week.
And yesterday, he set the same stadium ablaze again with his game intelligence drawing plaudits even from the visitors’ section.
He did everything right but Ngezi , to their credit, made sure they picked up their first point on the road this season with their equally impressive defensive discipline.
The hosts’ coach Kumbirai Mutiwekuziva was fuming over the way his charges failed to convert the chances which they schemed, with Mutudza orchestrating most of them.
“We had a good game but we failed to convert the chances which came our way. We failed to apply the basics particularly in the first half where we failed to apply the basic principles of attack, especially using the width,” he said.
“Instead we were playing more flashy football with individualism becoming the order of the day. I think we were a little bit complacent especially given that we were coming from a win in our previous match against Dynamos.
“We were a bit under pressure in the second half to get the three points but Ngezi upped their game and the match became balanced. I think at the end of the day, a draw was a fair result.”
His counterpart Erol Akbay, who is eying the championship, was equally unhappy with the way his players applied themselves.
“It was a two-phased match whereby Herentals controlled the first half and we dominated the second. We created very few chances, which is not the way we play as Ngezi Platinum Stars. We created one clear-cut chance but we wasted it,” he said. “Although we tried hard to pressure them in the second half, the goals couldn’t come. The tempo was very low and that’s not the way we play.”
Herentals are still to taste a home defeat and yesterday took their points tally to six in five matches while Ngezi are now on seven points after the same number of matches.
Scoring chances were few and far between in this match but Wilmore Chimbetu and Richard Hachiro came close to scoring for the home team only for visiting their goalkeeper Tatenda Munditi to keep them away.
Yet the best chance of the game fell to Ngezi Platinum midway through the first half when Barnabas Mushunje’s perfect-height cross was headed over by an unmarked Donald Teguru.
Herentals: F. Kuchinei, B. Majarira, W. Chimbetu, P. Chota, C. Mavhurume, J. Mutudza, T. Benza (P. Chama 59th min) , I. Benza, K. Bingala W. Kapumha 64th min) B. Majarira, R. Hachiro.
Ngezi Platinum: T. Munditi, N. Ketala F. Makarati, D. Teguru, B. Mushunje (S. Nhivi, 51st min) , K. Murera, J. Nguluve (M. Charamba 60th min) , X. Moyo, B. Mtigo, M. Mushonga (T. Mabvura, 75th min) , P. Moyo.