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CASTLE Lager Premier Soccer League early pacesetters — Ngezi Platinum — maintained their 100 percent start to the season with a hard fought win over new boys Nichrut but conceded they were given a run for their money. Terrence Dzvukamanja’s solitary second half strike was enough to give the leaders maximum points against a determined Nichrut.
The victory means the Mhondoro miners remain the only team in the elite league to have won all their assignments.
However, Coach Tonderai Ndiraya conceded that this game was their most difficult assignment to date, having previously made lightweight of Herentals, Triangle United and Dynamos.
“Fatigue was beginning to creep in on our boys that is why we made some changes to the team, three of our regular players did not start the match.
“Those who started did well but the game was a bit difficult for us, Ascot has always been a difficult venue for teams to come and collect points but at the end of the day I am quite satisfied we have collected maximum points,” Ndiraya said.
“It is still early days yet but of course we are not in the league to make numbers, we want to correct the way we finished last year.
“Last year we won the first three games and faltered on the fourth and we came with that in mind so that we beat last year’s record I am glad we have done that.
“Last year we came third and this year we are going for the big one and obviously these are the points we want to be collecting especially on the road,” said Ndiraya.
The newboys had until yesterday been unbeaten in the league and they came into the duel determined to stop the early pacesetters. Buoyed by their vociferous fans, Mashurugwi as Nichrut are affectionately known refused to bow down in submission after conceded first in the match.
Kudakwashe Sibanda came close early in the second half with a well-taken header but was denied by the impressive Donavan Bernard in goal for Ngezi.
James Chivasa got a chance in the 77th minute after getting space behind the backline but his effort was just inches wide. Tatenda Hapazari also got to the end of a Farai Vimisayi cross, but Bernard was once again well positioned to deny the midfielder.
Nichrut coach John Nyikadzino was full of praise for his charges despite losing his first league match.
“The guys played really well and I am very proud of the way they played today, Ngezi is a good team but we managed to give them a very good challenge.
“We had wanted to be the first team in the league to stop Ngezi but unfortunately we failed, we are still new to this league and we strive to improve in every game we play.
“With a bit of luck I feel we could have got a goal or two but it was not to be and we will fight to do well in our future games.
“I also want to thank the supporters who were behind us all the way and us as the technical team and players we will continue working hard to make them proud,” said Nyikadzino