Rahman’s gamble pays off
Lawe outpaced his marker to beat advancing Mutare City goalkeeper Philip Nhete with a grounder.
Zibande played as a lone striker, but Matawu and Tafadzwa Kutinyu took turns to partner him upfront after the champions went ahead.
The interchange of positions by the Chicken Inn midfielders made it difficult for the visitors to track Matawu, Kutinyu and Pride Tafirenyika, while anchorman Thabani Goredema made sure the central defence stood its ground.
Mutare City only had two half chances throughout the game. The first came in the 38th minute when Caleb Masocha turned in the box and took a snap shot that went straight to goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze.
The visitors’ skipper Chasten Ngondonga then sent his 76th minute header into the side netting.
After the match, Chicken Inn coach Rahman Gumbo, who initially used a 4-5-1 formation before switching to his favoured 3-5-2 after going into the lead, said the victory was a relief for his charges.
“Honestly this victory is a relief after two consecutive losses (0-1 to Caps United in the league and 0-1 against Triangle United in the first round of the Chibuku Super Cup). Today the changes we made, leaving out all the misfiring strikers, paid off. You could see that the players’ attitude was positive,” said Gumbo.
Following yesterday’s win, the champions moved a place up the ladder from position seven to sixth with 34 points from 24 matches.
Gumbo said he would not tinker with the team that beat Mutare City for their weekend game against Triangle United.
Mutare City coach Taku Shariwa said the compact White City pitch had an effect on their play and his players struggled to adapt to the turf as they overran the ball on many occasions.
“We didn’t impose ourselves the way we wanted and the pitch size also didn’t work in our favour. However, that is not an excuse because after Tsholotsho’s loss to Dynamos, we wanted to open a four-point gap from them, but that wasn’t the issue,” said Shariwa.
Mutare City Rovers are third from bottom on 21 points. Castle Lager PSL Week 24 Results Wednesday: Ngezi Platinum Stars 2-0 Chapungu, ZPC Kariba 0-0 Caps United, Border Strikers 0-0 FC Platinum, Bulawayo City 1-2 Triangle United, Dynamos 2-0 Tsholotsho FC
Yesterday: Chicken Inn 2-0 Mutare City Rovers, Harare City 0-1 Highlanders, How Mine 2-0 Hwange. — @ZililoR.