NGEZI Platinum Stars marched on to the finals of the Chibuku Super Cup after dismissing Highlanders, who had been tagged as favourites in this semi-final played at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday. BY FORTUNE MBELE
NGEZI PLATINUM . . . .(0) 1
HIGHLANDERS . . . . . . . 0
Highlanders central defender, Peter Muduhwa handled inside the box in the 62nd minute from a James Nguluve cross and Ngezi were awarded a penalty, which Liberty Chakoroma converted.
Ngezi now face FC Platinum, who clobbered Harare City 3-0 in another semi-final at Mandava on Saturday.
Coach, Tonderai Ndiraya, was over the moon after seeing his side produced a stoic performance in front of thousands of Highlanders supporters.
The top-flight debutants’ Ndiraya couldn’t resist taking a swipe at the Premier Soccer League, who picked Barbourfields for this match, where Ngezi Platinum were the home team.
“I am happy to have won at home,” he said.
“It is quite exciting for a club of Ngezi’s stature to come to Barbourfields and get a positive result. We are a small team and Highlanders are giants. I think its history made. We are over the moon. Our objective from the beginning of this tournament was to get to the final. We go back and plan, work hard to try and win the cup. We came here to attack and get a result, but there was a time when we had to disengage when Highlanders were throwing everything at us, but we were in control especially in the first half. Highlanders ran out of ideas and we created more clear-cut chances and got that penalty through hard work,” he said.
Ngezi Platinum played with a compact midfield and raided Highlanders from the start and could have scored as early as the fourth minute, but Chakoroma’s well-taken shot took a deflection for a corner-kick.
Highlanders wasted a number of scoring opportunities, through Allen Gahadzikwa and Gabriel Nyoni towards the end of the first half.
Ngezi’s Nguluve shot wide in the 39th minute on the break.
Sibanda then made a brilliant save in the 56th minute from a Kenneth Bulaji shot inside the penalty box.
Highlanders’ gaffer, Erol Akbay was a disappointed man and his substitution of right-back, Tendai Ngulube for striker Ralph Matema in 68th minute further exposed Bosso’s defence.
“It was not very bad football, but if you don’t score then it’s bad for you. We gave them too much room and made they play easier. We had hoped to get to the final. I am disappointed,” Akbay said.
N Chadya, N Ketala (D Tavari 86’), P Jaure, B Madzokere, J Marufu (D Teguru 59’), E Tapera, W Mukanga, L Chakoroma, K Bulaji (W Pakamisa 90’), J Nguluve, T Mchisa
A Sibanda, T Ngulube (R Matema 68’), H Moyo, T Ndlovu, P Muduhwa, E Mudzingwa, R Kutsanzira, A Gahadzikwa, P Dube, S Munawa (K Nadolo 50’), G Nyoni