By Sports Reporter
TITLE chasing Chicken Inn moved into second position after securing a crucial 2-1 win over a weary Triangle United side in a rescheduled Castle Lager Premier Soccer match played at Luveve Stadium on Saturday.
The victory took the Joey Antipas coached side’s points tally to 49 and placed them within just two points of log leaders CAPS United with five matches remaining in what looks set to be a photo finish to the 2019 league race.
Champions FC Platinum are also firmly in contention as they have 49 points but are third due to an inferior goal difference.
Chicken Inn, who have been going through a frustrating run of inconsistent form, desperately needed to collect maximum points to revive their hopes of challenging for the league championship.
Midfielder Innocent Mucheneka provided them with the perfect start after breaking the deadlock with a goal 25 minutes into the match, off an assist by George Majika inside the penalty box.
Xolani Ndlovu fired from outside the box to double the advantage for the hosts four minutes later as the Gamecocks took a comfortable lead before the half hour.
Triangle, who have endured a taxing run of consecutive matches due to their involvement in the CAF Confederations Cup, gave themselves a glimmer of hope after responding with a goal from their captain Ralph Kawondera seven minutes before the break.
The Sugar Boys tried to come back in the second half but were frustrated by a determined Chicken Inn side which defended brilliantly to claim a crucial win.
Antipas was delighted with the victory which puts the Bulawayo based former champions firmly back in the title race.
“It was a very difficult game. The main thing was to get over the line which we did. It was all about grinding results. This result gave us hope and puts us back in the matrix. Five games to go now and 15 points to fight for is still a long way. We just have to keep working and believing,” Antipas said.
Triangle coach Taurai Mangwiro appeared unhappy with match officials.
“What I am seeing are matches that are already decided. We are here just to fulfil matches and what I saw today is rather disappointing. It’s important for football people to evaluate ourselves, myself included. Sometimes we don’t give honest opinions and it’s killing our football,” Mangwiro fumed.
After a promising start to the campaign, Mangwiro is now under pressure as his side is now in 11th position on 36 points, just five points away from the dreaded relegation zone.
The Chiredzi-based side however has a game in hand against Hwange at home.
Castle Lager Premier Soccer League midweek fixtures
Wednesday: Bulawayo Chiefs v Hwange (Luveve); Mushowani Stars v Chicken Inn (Trojan); Harare City v TelOne (Rufaro); Chapungu v Dynamos (Ascot); Manica Diamonds v FC Platinum (Vengere); Triangle Unite v Herentals (Gibbo); Black Rhinos v Yadah (NSS); Highlanders vs Ngezi Platinum (Barbourfields)
Thursday: CAPS United vs ZPC Kariba (NSS)