Senior Sports Reporter
Chicken Inn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (0) 1
Ngezi Platinum Stars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(1) 1
WASTEFUL Chicken Inn missed out on an opportunity to reduce the deficit between them and the top two when they were held to a draw by visiting Ngezi Platinum Stars in a lively Castle Lager Premier Soccer League contest at Luveve Stadium yesterday.
Ngezi played the last 24 minutes of the match with 10 players on the field after striker Clive Augusto was sent off for a second bookable offence by referee Munyaradzi Majoni. Augusto was sent for an early shower the last time Madamburo visited the City of Kings, when they lost 1-0 to Bulawayo Chiefs at the same venue in June.
Both teams scored from corner kicks and off headers, Keith Murera finding the target for Ngezi while Moses Jackson equalised for Chicken Inn.
The match was delayed by just over 20 minutes as Ngezi protested against the appointment of assistant Major Mususa, who they claimed is related to FC Platinum official Joseph Mususa. Tonderai Ndiraya, the Ngezi coach felt that the match official could not be impartial. Ndiraya was, however, satisfied with the way the match was handled.
“We discovered that there was a Mususa guy among the panel of referees and as you know we are told the Mususa guy is related to the general manager of FC Platinum so we felt there was a conflict of interest there, we were questioning his impartiality given that scenario,’’ Ndiraya said.
Chicken Inn coach, Joey Antipas was disappointed with the result as he went into the match looking to get the maximum points which would have ensured that they closed the gap between them and Ngezi as well as FC Platinum.
“I thought it was two points dropped especially them being 10-man, I thought that we also seemed like content with the point when I thought we could have put more pressure which didn’t happen. First half we had very good chances of, they were clear cut chances if we had buried those two chances, we could have been in it but it’s the nature of football,’’ Antipas said.
The first half got off to a slow start with both teams struggling to create meaningful goal scoring opportunities. Later on, the match became alive with Chicken Inn getting close within a space of minutes. George Majika, the most impressive player throughout the match took a snap shot at goal in the 36th minute only for his attempt to miss the target.
Obrey Chirinda fluffed a sitter in the 38th minute after some lovely work by Innocent Mucheneka who sent in a cross into the box only for the Castle Lager Player of the Month for July to send his effort over the bar. Moments later veteran striker Obadiah Tarumbwa failed to punish the visitors when he took his time to shoot at goal following a blunder by Ngezi goalkeeper Nelson Chadya.
Chicken Inn were made to pay four minutes before the break, Murera getting the slightest of touches from a Godknows Murwira corner kick to get the ball over the line.
Jackson rose high in the box to head in the equaliser for the Gamecocks six minutes after the break from a Majika corner kick which Ngezi failed to clear from their box.
Chicken Inn: P Zendera, P Bernard, B Nyahunzwi, O Tarumbwa (Mutatiwa 73 mins), J Nyabinde, G Majika (Nasama 85 mins), M Jackson, I Mucheneka, O Chirinda, C Matawu, L Sithole
Ngezi Platinum Stars: N Chadya, T Chipunza, L Chakoroma, K Bulaji, M Mushonga, K Murera, F Mukarati, W Mukanga (Moyo 90+3 mins), J Nguluve (Owusu 77 mins), C Augusto, G Murwira