By Tadious Manyepo
Herentals had a penalty saved and a man sent off as Castle Lager Premiership football action returned at Trojan in over a decade in thrilling fashion yesterday.
Thousands filled this tiny facility after it was finally cleared to host top-flight football action last week and they were treated to some exciting stuff on the field of play.
Journeyman Crybert Muvuti thrust the home team into an early lead before Kelvin Bingala equalised late in the game before Herentals’ Salif Cheya was red-carded for needlessly handling the ball in a desperate attempt to score.
He had initially been cautioned for a similar offence in the first half.
Motivated by some raucous backing from the fans who included children in school uniform, Mushowani dominated the first half but some resolute defensive work from Carlos Mavhurume and Brighton Majarira made sure they wouldn’t stretch that seventh minute lead.
The visitors, however, took the game to their opponents in the second half and as they piled on the pressure, they won a penalty four minutes after the restart after captain Blessing Majarira was fouled inside the box.
But after an apparent argument between Richard Hachiro and his skipper over who would grab the responsibility, the latter, who initially seemed resigned to take it, finally stepped up but saw his meek effort saved by Mushowani goalkeeper Admire Masuku.
Though the miss appeared to have taken a chunk of confidence off Majarira, he still managed to lift himself up and engineered his team’s leveller, 20 minutes before time.
Herentals took their tally to 16 points in 14 matches and remained three points above the drop zone while their hosts are still bottom of the log with 10 points to their name.
Mushowani coach Newman Mashipe, whose side played their first match without Evans Katema, who is now with Dynamos but travelled to watch this one, and without the suspended captain Clive Dzingai, was satisfied with the draw.
“It was a good game where we dominated the first half before we played second fiddle especially in the midfield in the second half.
“But I am happy we managed to pick a point in our first match here,” he said.
His opposite, Kumbirai Mutiwekuziva, was equally impressed.
“We failed to nail them in the second half which I feel we dominated but all the same, considering where we are coming from, a point on the road is not bad,” said Mutiwekuziva.
Mushowani: A Masuku, E Mafirenyika, S Savare, M Doley, T Mutyambizi (C Zimundi 65th min), W Tafa, T Mutandi (A Kambanje 80th min), B Phiri, C Muvuti, S Chikwengwere (P Chiramba 88th min) , J Tulani
Herentals: P Tafiremutsa, J Mutudza (P Chama 67th min), C Mavhurume, B Majarira, W Chimbetu, R Hachiro, I Benza (W Kapumha 82nd min) K Bingala (T Chitukutuku 90th min) , S Cheya, P Chota, B Majarira. The Chronicle