By Tadious Manyepo
Evans Katema and Godknows Murwira had an assist and a goal each as Dynamos scored the fastest Premiership goal this season and remained in contention for the championship race.
The Glamour Boys turned on one of their best performances this season but were then forced to dig deep to survive a late scare in this pulsating Castle Lager Premier Soccer League tie.
DeMbare last scored three goals in a league match in November 2017 against Bantu Rovers at Luveve.
Twenty-three seconds into the match, Murwira thrust the Glamour Boys ahead and their hosts did not recover from that pedestrian start.
Then Katema and Nigel Katawa weighed in with the other goals for Tonderai Ndiraya’s men while Brighton Majarira and Simbarashe Gondo replied for Herentals to force a nail-biting finish.
The Harare giants are now effectively back in the championship race after taking their tally to 32 points, five behind leaders Caps United.
It took DeMbare only 23 seconds and four touches to take the lead.
A precise cross-field drive pass by Young Warriors wing-back Emmanuel Jalai picked Tinotenda Muringai on the left flank whose curling effort was chested down by Katema for Murwira to complete the task.
The goal helped Dynamos settle down and they bullied their nervy opponents in all aspects of the game in a one-sided first half.
Herentals, whose coach, Kumbirai Mutiwekuziva, made a shocking move by playing one of his worst performing strikers this season Prince Chama at right back, did not look like a team worth playing in the top-flight in that first stanza.
In the middle of that dominance in the first stanza, Katema turned from supplier to finisher as he easily scored from close range after a lame clearance by stand-in captain, Blessing Maunganidze, 20 minutes into the game.
Sensing danger, Mutiwekuziva pulled out Chama for the more effective Gibson Chinobva and Herentals started matching their opponents.
But, they once again slept on duty in the initial stages of the second half, allowing Dynamos to once again score, this time Katawa coolly tapping in from a perfect Murwira corner kick.
Ndiraya’s charges looked to be cruising to a comfortable win but once Brighton Majarira pulled one back, with three minutes to play, Dynamos looked very vulnerable at the back.
Not long after conceding what appeared to be nothing but just a consolation, they gave away a penalty after referee Norman Matemera adjudged that substitute Archmore Majarira had been blocked inside the penalty box.
The decision sparked protests from DeMbare players as they argued Majarira had actually handled the ball before going down.
Up-stepped goalkeeper Gondo to reduce the deficit.
With Herentals throwing everything everyone forward and the fourth official having indicated four minutes of added time, Matemera blew with only ninety seconds of the extra minutes.
“I thought it was a nervy finish. I’m not sure about the penalty but I don’t think, from where I was seated, that it was a penalty,’’ said Ndiraya.
“It put us under a lot of pressure but apart from that we started off very well in the first half.
‘‘But after scoring I could see that the mentality was not right. We were a bit casual, I was not very happy.’’
Mutiwekuziva said it was a bad day in the office.
“A very bad day in the office for us. It didn’t go well for us today, conceding a goal in twenty-three seconds is the worst thing I have seen.
‘‘It put a lot of questions on our mental preparation for the game but the spirit we showed towards the end was encouraging.
‘‘Tough luck to the boys, we will regroup and try to do better in our next assignments,” he said.
Herentals: S Gondo, B Maunganidze, C Mavhurume, B Majarira, W Chimbetu, J Mutudza (T Chitukutuku 72nd min), I Benza, R Hachiro, P Chama, P Chota, T Benza (A. Majarira 72nd min), P Chama (G Chinobva 36th min)
Dynamos: S Chinani, E Jalai, T Muringai, G Mukambi, M Mawadza (E. Mhungu 66th min), T Chisi, N Katawa, G Murwira (S Mupamaonde 74th min), A Gutu, E Katema, S Nhivi (J Selemani 40th min). The Chronicle