Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
THE 10 goals scored on the opening weekend of the 2017 edition of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League were the least recorded in a decade.
In the last 10 years, the opening PSL weekend produced a number of goals, with the highest being 23 scored in 2015.
Goals scored in opening weekend of the PSL in the last decade are as follows: 2008 (22), 2009 (16), 2010 (17), 2011 (20), 2012 (22), 2013 (18), 2014 (19), 2015 (23) and 22 goals last season.
Despite the PSL having more teams after a compromise deal that saw two more teams being added bringing the number to 18, the nine Premiership matches produced only 10 goals, with half of them coming from Chicken Inn’s 5-0 mauling of new boys Bantu Rovers.
Newly signed Chicken Inn midfielder Innocent Mucheneka scored the first and fastest Match Day One league goal in the 18th minute.
Chicken Inn striker Ishmael Lawe came off the bench in the second half to become the first player in 2017 to score a brace.
Obidiah Tarumbwa and Tafadzwa Kutinyu were also on target for the Gamecocks.
The other weekend’s scorers were Daniel Chakupe, who struck the solitary goal for the ZPC Kariba 1-0 win over How Mine.
Unheralded Ngezi Platinum Stars’ striker Clive Augusto scored the 90th minute winner against Premiership returnees Black Rhinos, while Winston Mhango converted from the penalty spot in FC Platinum’s 1-0 win over former champions Dynamos.
Prince Dube and Simon Munawa were on target in Bosso’s 2-0 dismissal of municipal boys Bulawayo City to complete the list of weekend scorers.
Soccer pundit Herbert Dick attributed the few goals to teams being more cautious.
“Teams are afraid to lose their first game of the season and as such they tend to be cautious in their approach. I think the clubs that didn’t lose or concede are saying the point or points picked are a good start and might change their game plan as the season progresses,” said Dick.
“The other thing to probe is what kind of strikers do teams have? Do those strikers fit well into their coaches’ game plans and are they presented with clear scoring chances? Defenders could also be doing a good job and so are goalkeepers. So for me, there are many factors that contributed to few goals being scored,” he said.
From the nine weekend matches, four games ended in 0-0 stalemates and 13 teams kept clean sheets.
Meanwhile, Ngezi Platinum’s Walter Mukanga became the first player to be expelled after being shown two yellow cards against Black Rhinos.
Saturday, April 1: Harare City 0-0 Yadah FC, ZPC Kariba 1-0 How Mine, Ngezi Platinum 1-0 Black Rhinos, Chapungu 0-0 Triangle United, Bantu Rovers 0-5 Chicken Inn, Tsholotsho FC 0-0 Hwange
Sunday, April 2: Dynamos 0-1 FC Platinum, Shabanie Mine 0-0 Caps United, Highlanders 2-0 Bulawayo City.