From Ray Bande in Mutare
Chiredzi United 4-3 Buffaloes
EXPERIENCE prevailed over determination and enthusiasm when seasoned gaffer Gishon “Gizha” Ntini outwitted Buffaloes assistant coach Timothy “Sicho’’ Masachi and guide Chiredzi United into the Chibuku Super Cup quarter-finals at Sakubva yesterday.
With Luke “Vahombe” Masomere away on a CAF A Licence coaching course in Harare, the inexperienced Masachi was thrust in charge of Buffaloes.
With a porous defence and a midfield that lacked creativity and mobility all afternoon, Masachi’s lack of character and boldness was badly exposed as Buffaloes twice took the lead but not only left a rather disjointed Chiredzi to claw back into the game and eventually take seize the initiative.
The Mutare soldiers came into the match as flight favourites and they drew first blood when veteran Kastigu Juwakinyu fired past a sprawling Chiredzi goalkeeper Simon Kafitire 18 minutes into the match.
Nonetheless, David Temwanjira restored parity in the 23rd minute with a long range shot that caught out-of-sorts Blessing Mandimutsira flat footed.
In the 39th minute, speedy forward Lloyd Katongomara propelled his team back into the lead after dribbling past a cluster of Chiredzi defenders and then outpaced David Sengu and Tinashe Mutete as he charged towards goal from the right before firing a hard and low shot that beat Kafitire.
With just a minute remaining of the first half, Buffaloes once again conceded a silly goal when they allowed exciting Tawanda Muendi to connect a cross from the left as he freely headed home past a diving Mwandimutsira to leave the scores level at halftime.
Nine minutes after the break, Chiredzi showed their determination to progress into the next stage of the competition when Temwanjira got to the end of a Sam Msimbo pass and duly beat Mwandimutsira as Chiredzi took the lead for the first time in the match.
Man of the match Muendi then extended his team’s lead two minutes later with a thunderous strike from close range as he did justice to a fine cross from Msimbo.
Buffaloes were now under pressure to match their opponents and all they could salvage was one more goal after impressive Chiredzi referee James Dzingai pointed to the spot to award the home team a penalty in the 78th minute when Munashe Chinembeza clumsily hacked down a goal-bound Katonmgomara in the box. Up stepped Muzokomba who fired home as he sent the Chierdzi goalkeper the wrong direction.
Ntini praised his charges for a spirited performance.
“This is fantastic. I want to appreciate the referee for a job well done. I also want to praise my players for a fine performance. I think our approach paid off because we used a cup game strategy and we got the result that we wanted,” he said.
Masachi blamed his defenders for conceding silly goals. “We made schoolboy blunders and were punished for that otherwise we had started the match well,” said Masachi.
Buffaloes: Blessing Mwandimutsira, Kelvin Thembani, Liberty Chakoroma, Tafadzwa Mombeshora, Prosoper Matizanadzo, Moses Gutu, (Leo Chawira 78th minute), Phillip Thembani, Jefrey Takunda, Jacob Muzokomba, Lloyd Katongomara, Kastigu Juwakinyu (Tafadzwa Mkahlera 80th minute)
Chiredzi United: Simon Kafitire, Tinashe Mutete, Muchineripi Muneri, David Sengu, Munashe Chinembeza, Tawanda Mpungu, Scholar Hadebe, Sam Msimbo, David Temwanjira (Kudzai Nyamupfukudza 87th minute), Tawanda Munyendi, Durban Bakali