Eddie Chikamhi in Trojan
Mushowani Stars 0-1 Chicken Inn
CHICKEN Inn scripted another twist to this year’s Castle Lager Premiership race when they grinded out victory at basement side Mushowani Stars yesterday.
Midfielder Innocent Mucheneka’s 48th minute strike made the big difference as the Gamecocks moved within two points of second-placed Caps United.
FC Platinum, who also won 2-0 away at Manica Diamonds, now lead the standings.
Caps United, who led the race for the past two months, slipped into second place, ahead of their clash with ZPC Kariba at Rufaro this afternoon.
Chicken Inn coach, Joey Antipas, was happy by the result although he was livid by referee Pedzisai Chadya’s decision to deny his team what appeared a genuine goal in the first half.
“It was a difficult fixture playing here at Trojan and I would say we grinded this result,” he said.
“I admire the fighting spirit of the guys but I only have got one problem, I didn’t know Zimbabwe now has VAR because it’s my my first time in my career here to see the fourth official changing the decision of the three match officials.
“We scored a legitimate goal and the referee and the assistants indicated goal but the fourth official changed that.
“But it’s a good win for us and we just got to keep going in the last games and then see what we can come up with.”
The Gamecocks are now second on 52 points, on the log standings, and are separated by goal difference from leaders FC Platinum.
Antipas’ men boosted their momentum in this year’s contest with a controversial 2-1 win over Triangle in a rescheduled match last weekend.
And, yesterday, they survived an early scare when the hosts got a penalty following a disputed handball by Tichaona Chipunza.
Mushowani Stars forward, Paul Chiramba, missed from the spot.
Chicken Inn held their nerve and broke the deadlock soon after the break.
Mucheneka’s low effort beat goalkeeper Admire Masuka from the edge of the box after Sipho Ndlovu had won a tussle against Webster Tafa.
The visitors did well to keep the hosts at bay in the second half.
Chicken Inn goalkeeper, Pride Zendera, escaped with a caution after going out of his area and fouling Joseph Tulani soon after the breather.
The hosts did everything but could not score with striker Paul Chiramba showing signs of tiring before he was taken off midway through the second half.
Mushowani Stars made a spirited appeal for penalty with 15 minutes remaining after Clemence Zimondi’s attempt at goal came off Tichaona Chipunza inside the box.
However, referee Chadya dismissed the appeals from the home team. Mushowani sunk to the bottom of the table with the loss. They had managed to stay afloot with a good run at home after they got the green light to play at Trojan in June. But that aura of invincibility appears to have vanished following losses to Caps United and Bulawayo Chiefs.
“Obviously, this is a game that we needed to win in order to collect the much-needed maximum points,” Mushowani coach, Newman Mashipe, said.
“It’s very disappointing to lose such kind of games, especially at home, when you know you are involved in the fight for survival.
“What is important now is to try and find a way to come back. It’s very unfortunate we missed a penalty which could probably have turned the game in our favour.
”But these things do happen everywhere in the world.”