Grace Chingoma in Mhondoro
Ngezi Platinum Stars . . . . . . . (1) 2
CAPS United . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (0) 1
TITLE-chasing Ngezi Platinum Stars rekindled their hopes for a maiden Castle Lager Premiership championship when they completed a league double over CAPS United at Baobab yesterday and coming to within two points of log leaders FC Platinum in this riveting two-horse race.
The crucial victory, achieved on the back of a goal each by Donald Teguru and James Nguluve also helped Ngezi to halt a two-match losing streak that had left them trailing FC Platinum by five points.
But on a day when the pendulum swung in their favour, Triangle did Ngezi a huge favour by upstaging FC Platinum at Gibbo.
Ngezi also did well to show character and recover from the disappointment of sensationally tumbling out of the Chibuku Super Cup first round after their penalty shoot-out defeat by Herentals at the same venue.
It was another victory against the former champions who they beat in Harare in the first half of the season.
CAPS United were however, not bossed around in this lively contest yesterday.
Ngezi coach Tonderayi Ndiraya noted the CAPS United outfit which he faced yesterday was “different, tougher and gave them a good run’’ but were able to hold on Teguru’s second minute goal that calmed their nerves.
Teguru benefited from a move from the right initiated by Nguluve.
After turning provider, Nguluve then extended the lead in the 66th minute after he was fed by Tichaona Mabvura who was quite a handful on the flank and could have got his goal as well with a bit of luck.
CAPS United were resolute, playing with much aplomb especially in the first half but were unfortunate to see Milton Ncube’s header in the 19th minute being saved. The visitors continued to fight and pulled one back 10 minutes before time through a penalty which was converted by midfielder Joel Ngodzo.
Referee Nomore Musundire adjudged that CAPS United’s Wisdom Mutasa was fouled by defender Marlon Mushonga in the box and awarded the spot kick.
Ngezi Stars goalkeeper Nelson Chadya was cautioned in the resultant melee for time wasting.
But the home team, hung on for the crucial points that helped add a fresh twist to the championship race.
But Ndiraya conceded it was not an easy afternoon.
“What a way to bounce back against CAPS United but I must admit that CAPS United were good they have a strong side and made so many changes to the team and clearly I thought they were in control of the match today.
“But all the same I thought we were assisted by scoring early and we had to manage the game because CAPS United were pouring forward.
“They are a very strong team with a lot of experience. I guess our boys had to dig deep today to get a result.
“But at the end of the day I am quite excited by getting maximum points and I hope these three points will push us forward.
“It was a difficult match for us which I give credit to the boys for fighting back and bouncing back after a two-match losing streak,” said Ndiraya.