Ricky Zililo in BULAWAYO
Chicken Inn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Harare City . . . . . . . . . . . . (0) 1
CHICKEN Inn coach Rahman Gumbo said his men were back in the title race after ending a four-match winless streak yesterday by beating relegation-threatened Harare City at Luveve. Passmore Bernard and Obadiah Tarumbwa scored the goals that gave the Gamecocks maximum points. They are four points adrift of leaders FC Platinum with a number of crucial matches to be played.
“It was good to finally taste a victory after a long month of barren results. We are happy to be back in the title contention and what we have to do is focus on winning our games and leave other teams to do their own stuff,” said Gumbo.
“I still believe we’re real title contenders.” Chicken Inn had last registered victory on September 2 when they edged How Mine 2-1. That was followed by three defeats to Yadah, CAPS United and Highlanders before they drew with Shabanie Mine. Faced with a tight battle against Harare City, who are fighting for their survival, Chicken Inn came into yesterday’s encounter geared up.
And it was not surprising when they shot into the lead through a Bernard strike in the 35th minute. The build up to the goal saw Tarumbwa leaving his marker for dead before winning a corner which he quickly took for Bernard to connect with aplomb. Harare City could have drawn level three minutes later, but Martin Vengesayi’s header went agonisingly wide.
Tarumbwa doubled Chicken Inn’s lead in the 55th minute when he beat Harare City goalkeeper Tatenda Mutindi with his weaker left foot after being cleverly set through by Blessing Sibanda. Chicken Inn defended their lead until the final 10 minutes of the match. Left-back Divine Lunga cleared off the line a Wilfred Muvirimi header to preserve the Gamecocks’ two-goal lead.
There was nothing the Chicken Inn backline could have done to deny Muvirimi in the 86th minute when the lanky striker connected a Tinashe Balakasi cross from the left. Harare City gaffer Philani “Beefy” Ncube conceded defeat. “We won’t be relegated. We did not come to the party today and conceded soft goals. We are not pressing any panic buttons because we know we are going to pass through this hurdle and survive relegation,” said Ncube.