By Ricky Zililo
A brace by Moses Demera saw army side Black Rhinos charging to within one point of log leaders Chicken Inn in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League after a match played at Luveve Stadium yesterday.
Rhinos moved a place up the ladder into fourth place, tied on 21 points with defending champions FC Platinum, who are third with a superior goal difference.
Demera grabbed his first goal in the 29th minute after latching onto a defence splitting pass from Wellington Taderera to poke the ball into the net in Rhinos’ first attempt on goal after absorbing TelOne’s pressure from kick-off.
Demera got his brace in the 54th minute, and it was Taderera again who sent in an inviting cross from the left. Demera controlled the ball, turned and shot past diving TelOne goalkeeper Raphael Pitisi.
Rhinos coach Hebert Maruwa was happy with the result and declared that they were targeting a top four finish.
“It was a good game and a good show by the boys. I think we really need to keep in touch with the top teams so that we keep our dream of a top four finish alive,” said Maruwa.
Poor decision making in the opening stages of the second half denied Rhinos two more goals. Demera sent through Taderera two minutes into the second half, but he took too many touches and was dispossessed.
Three minutes later, Demera acted selfishly by going for goal instead of passing the ball to either Taderera or Edgar Chigiji, who were better positioned to score.
TelOne’s first attempt on goal came in the 51st minute from a dead ball taken by Tawana Chikore, but it was tipped over by Rhinos’ keeper Ashely Rayners.
Veteran TelOne striker Jacob Muzokomba’s 70th minute flashing header off Elasto Chigora’s cross from the right missed the target by inches with Rayners beaten.
Rayners produced the save of the day in the 72nd minute when he dived to his right to deny winger Emmanuel Mandiranga from close range.
TelOne coach Jairos Tapera conceded defeat and said they have to work to convert chances they create.
“This was a difficult game for us and we were poor defensively resulting in us conceding soft goals. We couldn’t even breach our opponents’ defence. We’ve lost this game and now we have to go back and work on our shortcomings. If you analyse our past games, you’ll agree that we are good with ball retention, but poor in terms of finishing,” said Tapera.
TelOne: Raphael Pitisi, Marvelous Chigumira, Tawana Chikore, Innocent Zambezi, Steven Phiri (Fredrick Muza, 81st minute), Fortune Nkala, Emmanuel Mandiranga, Tafadzwa Sibanda (Elasto Chigora, 58th minute), Emmanuel Zinyama, Jacob Muzokomba, David Mangesi (Tatenda Hapazari, 58th minute)
Black Rhinos: Ashley Rayner’s, Tafadzwa Jaravani, Farai Banda, Bruce Homora, Tapiwa Sibanda, Gift Saunyama, Edgar Chigiji, Wellington Taderera, Moses Demera (Honey Chimutimunzeve, 75th minute), Leeroy Murape, Allan Gahadzikwa (Marvellous Mukumba, 81st minute)
Castle Lager Premier Soccer League Matchday 11 results
Saturday: Herentals 3-1 Caps United, Chicken Inn 1-2 Harare City, ZPC Kariba 0-0 Chapungu, Yadah 1-0 Highlanders, Ngezi Platinum Stars 0-0 FC Platinum
Yesterday: TelOne 0-2 Black Rhinos, Hwange 1-2 Triangle United, Mushowani Stars 1-2 Bulawayo Chiefs, Dynamos 0-0 Manica Diamonds. The Chronicle