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PSL season starts with bang

By Ricky Zililo

If the opening weekend of the 2019 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League is anything to go by, then fans should expect an avalanche of goals this season.

castle-pslSince the increase of teams from 16 to 18 in 2017, this season’s starting weekend had the most goals scored, 22 from nine games.

In 2017, a paltry 10 goals were scored on the opening weekend of the season, with half of those recorded in one game; Chicken Inn’s 5-0 drubbing of the now defunct Bantu Rovers.

Five wins were recorded in 2017, with three games recording identical 1-0 scorelines.

Last season, 17 goals were recorded in the first round of matches; three of those coming via the “boardroom” when FC Platinum were awarded a 3-0 walkover after ZPC Kariba failed to pitch up.

At the weekend, Chapungu were the biggest scorers, clobbering Bulawayo Chiefs 5-0, a result that prompted the Chiefs’ management to recall former head of technical, Thulani Sibanda.

Could the 5-0 thrashing be a bad omen for Chiefs, just like Bantu Rovers before them? Only the next few games will provide the answer.

Two draws were recorded, with only the Herentals and TelOne game ending goalless, while Black Rhinos and Highlanders ended in a 1-1 stalemate.

Defending champions FC Platinum kicked off their campaign with a solid performance, beating championship hopefuls, Harare City 2-0.

The platinum miners, who had a “jump start” in the 2019 season through participation in the Caf Champions League, were clearly much fitter than their opponents.

If they continue in that form, then FC Platinum are favourites to win their third consecutive title and subsequently keep the PSL trophy in their trophy cabinet for good.

Chicken Inn also kicked off their campaign with a 3-1 victory over ZPC Kariba, with Triangle United handing championship hopefuls, Ngezi Platinum Stars, a 2-1 defeat at Gibbo Stadium.

Dynamos, who had an awful 2018 season, which at one point saw them fighting relegation, got off to a flying start by handing new boys Mushowani a 2-0 defeat.

Fellow league debutants Manica Diamonds also faced a baptisim of fire when they were felled 2-0 by Caps United.

Manica Diamonds and Mushowani joined the endless list of new Premiership teams that start fighting relegation from match one of the season.

Starting on such a backfoot means they have to lift their game in coming matches just to avoid the dreaded chop.

What further complicates Mushowani and Manica Diamonds’ cause is that the two will play their home matches away, following condemnation of facilities they wanted to use.

This means they will be away for the better part of the season unless renovations are done in time at stadia they want to use. Mushowani had registered Trojan Stadium in Bindura for their home games, while Manica Diamonds wanted to use Vengere in Rusape and Sakubva in Mutare.

However, Hwange marked their return to the topflight with a 2-0 win over Yadah in a controversy-filled match in which the coal miners had two goals disallowed for offside. The Chronicle

Match Day 1 results

Friday:

-Harare City 0-2 FC Platinum

Saturday:

-Black Rhinos 1-1 Highlanders

-Chicken Inn 3-1 ZPC Kariba

-Mushowani Stars 0-2 Dynamos

-Chapungu 5-0 Bulawayo Chiefs

Sunday:

-Caps United 2-0 Manica Diamonds

-Triangle United 2-1 Ngezi Platinum Stars

-Hwange 2-0 Yadah, Herentals 0-0 TelOne

PSL TABLE

P W D L F A GD PTS

Chapungu 1 1 0 0 5 0 5 3

Chicken Inn 1 1 0 0 3 1 2 3

Caps United 1 1 0 0 2 0 2 3

Dynamos 1 1 0 0 2 0 2 3

FC Platinum 1 1 0 0 2 0 2 3

Hwange 1 1 0 0 2 0 2 3

Triangle United 1 1 0 0 2 1 1 3

Black Rhinos 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1

Highlanders 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1

Herentals 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1

TelOne 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1

Ngezi 1 0 0 1 1 2 -1 0

ZPC Kariba 1 0 0 1 1 3 -2 0

Harare City 1 0 0 1 0 2 -2 0

Manica D/mnds 1 0 0 1 0 2 -2 0

Mushowani 1 0 0 1 0 2 -2 0

Yadah 1 0 0 1 0 2 -2 0

Bulawayo Chiefs 1 0 0 1 0 5 -5 0