NGEZI Platinum Stars maintained their unbeaten start to the season after despatching in-form Harare City in an entertaining Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match at Baobab Stadium yesterday.
By Munyaradzi Madzokere in Mhondoro-Ngezi
Ngezi Platinum ……. (2) 3
Harare City ………….(0) 1
The league’s top scorer Terrence Dzvukamanja hit the opener, his eighth of the season, before Kenneth Bulaji and James Nguluve added two more to ensure a convincing home win for the log leaders.
Substitute Wilfred Muvirimi scored the consolation goal for Harare City late in the game.
The match had its own share of controversy when the hosts’ goalkeeper Donovan Bernard was lucky not to be sent off for deliberate handling outside the box in the seventh minute.
Bernard was the last man and came out of his area before using his hands to deny Marvin Gaki a goal-scoring opportunity.
Kadoma-based referee Josiah Masinira flashed a yellow card and after that it was all Ngezi.
Losing coach Mark Harrison had nothing, but praise for the hosts.
“Sometimes in football you have to put your hands up. I think we got rolled over by a very good team today. Certainly, better than we were and I think they are going to compete for the championship without a doubt,” he said.
After being let off the hook by the referee, Dzvukamanja thrust Ngezi into the lead in the 17th minute after he was sent through by Keith Murera and he placed the ball beyond the reach of Ryan Harrison.
Harrison dived low to keep out a Godknows Murwira strike from outside the box.
Bulaji then doubled the score from the resultant corner kick exactly 10 minutes after the opening goal, his looping header from a Michael Charamba corner kick finding the top corner.
Ngezi seemed to have stepped off the gas in the second half, but still managed to extend their lead with an artistic piece of play in the 55th minute.
Man of the moment Charamba made a menacing run into the Harare City half, picked out Walter Mukanga who quickly squared it for an onrushing Nguluve who rifled home from the edge of the box.
Substitute Muvirimi grabbed a face saver for the visitors 13 minutes from time after he rose the highest to head home a Takudzwa Chimwemwe inch-perfect cross.
Another Harare City substitute Learnmore Muyambo’s thunderbolt brought the best out of Bernard who sprung up to acrobatically tip the ball over the bar.
“Look at all the teams we have played, I think Harare City are among the best. I want to give Mark Harrison credit for the work he has done. We are pushing on and what is important is the consistency we have showed so far,” Ngezi coach Tonderai Ndiraya said.