BULAWAYO – Ngezi Platinum Stars reclaimed pole position on the Castle Lager Premiership log standings after labouring to a slender 1-0 victory over relegated Bantu Rovers here yesterday.
A first half strike by Donald Teguru proved enough for the visitors to collect maximum points and overtake FC Platinum, who had taken over the top spot following their 3 – 0 victory over ZPC Kariba on Saturday.
The two teams are tied on 63 points with Ngezi sitting on top courtesy of a superior goal difference.
Ngezi Platinum Stars coach Tonderai Ndiraya admitted that his charges had struggled to subdue the hosts.
“It was a very difficult game for us. I want to be honest it was very difficult for us today but what is important are three points that we got. Credit to Bantu despite having youngsters they gave us a tough time today, Ndiraya said.
“They showed a high level of professionalism by fighting all the way throughout the match. Three points is what we wanted and we got those. We came here with a positive mind and I am happy we collected maximum points.”
Bantu Rovers coach Methembe Ndlovu thought they gave a good account of themselves.
“I thought we gave it our best. We made a mistake at the back and we were punished for it. They were quite a strong team to be fair but we were our worst enemy as well in terms of the goal that we conceded,” Ndlovu said.
“In terms of our ball speed we moved the ball very well. Our young players playing in unfamiliar positions adjusted very well. Everyone did well in the squad, it’s unfortunate that we lost to a better team on the day.”
Relegated Bantu Rovers punched well above their weight and could have spoiled the party for the championship hopefuls had their strike force been more incisive in the final third.
Ngezi created some opportunities early in the game but their strikers took turns to miss the opportunities.
The visitors scored the only goal of the match through Teguru two minutes before the half time break.
Teguru took advantage of the Bantu defensive error, to beat one defender before taking a shot that hit the upright before sailing into the net.
In the second half, Bantu came back a changed side and they started to play a good passing game.
They created some opportunities to level the scores but indecision especially in the final third cost them.
Their players took too long to shoot at goal and in some instances they opted to pass the ball than taking the responsibility of shooting.
For Ngezi despite not playing their usual game they made sure they stood resolutely in defence.
They had their opportunities to increase the goal tally of the day but they failed to utilise them.
Bantu Rovers: Wellington Muuya, Kudzaishe Dzingwe (Mpumelelo Bhebhe 88m), Nyasha Garai, Lindelani Ncube, Dumisani Ndlovu, Shadreck Nyahwa, Tapiwa Kumbuyani, Lucky Ndlela, Nigel Papias, MacCarthy Dube, Brighton Ncube(Pride Zivengwa 80m).
Ngezi Platinum: Takabva Mawaya, Davison Tavari, Tatenda Mchisa, Qadr Amini, Liberty Chakoroma, Xolisani Moyo (Keith Murera 75m), Godknows Murwira, Walter Mukanga, Tichaona Mabvura (James Nguluve 52m), Clive Augusto (Washington Pakamisa 86m), Donald Teguru.