Ngezi Platinum pass another tough hurdle

Mukudzei Chingwere in GWERU

Chapungu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (0)

Ngezi Platinum Stars . . . . . . (0) (1)

NGEZI PLATINUM continued to turn the screws on defending champions FC Platinum after they passed another tough test which saw them taking a six-point lead at the top of the Castle Lager Premiership table.

FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza has repeatedly told the Press that playing after Ngezi puts his miners under pressure if their rivals win a day before they plunge into action.

Yesterday’s message from Ascot to Mapeza was clear, “Catch us if you can?’’

Mapeza’s men host provincial rivals Nichrut this afternoon.

Over the weekend, the defending champions’ response was perfect when they humbled giants Dynamos 2-0.

Yesterday, it was speedy and exciting winger Michael Charamba who rose from the bench to assist Walter Mukanga’s only goal of the match.

The early pacesetters came into the match being the only team yet to lose a league match, but their unbeaten run was under scrutiny against a side they have never beaten at Ascot.

Ngezi coach Tonderai Ndiraya was a happy man at the final whistle.

“It’s a long journey, but I think we are on track and I am quite excited by the way we got the result today,’’ said Ndiraya.

“It has been a long time since we defeated Chapungu here, it is always a difficult journey to come here, but I am glad today we got the points, which is what is important.

“We are marching on, we got three points today and, like I have always said, we will apply that rule of taking the next challenge against Harare City, which is quite a tough match and I hope we will be up to the task.

“We did not play the way we usually play, in the first half we were really not ourselves, we did not get the creativity we wanted, especially in the final third.

“Michael seems to be our impact player these days and he came and did the job we wanted, taking the ball behind the defence.’’

The visitors created a few chances in the opening half and played largely second fiddle to the hosts who created better chances.

Chapungu had the best chance to break the deadlock before the breather, but Bruno Mtigo’s shot crashed against the woodwork on the stroke of half-time. After the breather, former CAPS United captain Tapuwa Kumbuyani was denied a second goal in two matches when his free kick was pushed away by impressive goalkeeper Bernard Donovan.

Ten minutes into the second half, Chapungu thought they had won a penalty after Ngezi skipper Liberty Chakoroma handled Ricky Bota’s cross, but the referee ruled the incident happened outside the box.

“No one wants to come and watch bad football, we have to instil confidence in the players that they have to knock the ball around with rhythm,’’ said Chapungu coach Rodwell Dhlakama.

“It was just a lapse in concentration, but in terms of pound for pound, we managed to match them, we were better in terms of both defending and attacking.

“We created good chances and otherwise a draw was the best result.’’

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