Ricky Zililo at Baobab Stadium
Ngezi Platinum Stars 1-1 Highlanders
NGEZI Platinum Stars survived a late onslaught to share the spoils with visiting Highlanders in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match played here yesterday.
Leslie Kashitigu’s free header in the fifth minute from former Soccer Star of the Year Denver Mukamba’s cross beat Bosso goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda to give Ngezi a deserved lead.
Highlanders clawed back into the game and stuck to their game plan by attacking through the middle despite Ngezi controlling the opening half on a muddy pitch which robbed the game of some flair.
Ngezi should have doubled their lead, but Bruno Mtigo failed to connect a delivery from Delic Murimba in the 13th minute.
Five minutes before half-time, overlapping Highlanders’ left wingback Godfrey Makaruse restored parity with a well-taken goal from the left.
Highlanders piled on the pressure and Ngezi failed to deal with a weak attempt on goal from Ray Lunga and the ball fell into Makaruse’s path, and he duly responded with a curler with his weaker right foot. Ngezi keeper Nelson Chadya kept his side in the game when he saved Stanley Ngala’s 55th minute header off an Adrian Silla header.
Bosso piled the pressure in the second-half, keeping Ngezi on the back foot, but the hosts held on.
Not even the introduction of 2019 Soccer Star of the Year Joel Ngodzo in the second stanza could open up the Ngezi defence, although he displayed flashes of his brilliance here and there.
At the end of the day, Bosso coach Baltemar Brito blamed the muddy pitch for affecting the flow of the game.
Ngezi watered the field likely to make it difficult for Bosso to play their passing game.
“We came with ambition to win, but they held on well and I think as boys adapt to our new system, we will start winning. They are still learning. About the pitch, we knew they’ll provide such a field, but we tried to adapt.
Otherwise, it was a good game, but I think this kind of slippery and muddy pitch does not promote Zimbabwean football,” said Brito.
Ngezi coach Benjani Mwaruwari felt they wasted an opportunity to move up the league table.
“It was a good game and I feel we could have wrapped up the game in the second-half. I think they came strong in the second-half, but kudos to the boys for the great game,” said Mwaruwari.
Ngezi Platinum Stars: Nelson Chadya, Marvelous Mukumba, Polite Moyo, Ariel Makopa, Anelka Chivandire, Malvin Kwinjo , Kudzai Chigwida, Bruno Mtigo, Leslie Kashitigu, Denver Mukamba (Tinotenda Murasinarwa 71st min), Delic Murimba (Qadr Amini 88th min)
Highlanders FC: Ariel Sibanda, Rahman Kutsanzira (Andrew Mbeba 77th min), Muziwakhe Dhlamini (Adrian Silla 46th min), Devine Mhindirira (Joel Ngodzo 68th min), Lynoth Chikuhwa (Bukhosi Sibanda 68th min), Ray Lunga (Washington Navaya 60th min), Nqobizitha Masuku, Godfrey Makaruse, Peter Muduhwa, Stanley Ngala, Mbongeni Ndlovu — @ZililoR