Oscar Rusenga in TRIANGLE

Manica Diamonds………………….(1) 1

Simba Bhora……………………………0

GERALD Bhero’s first-half penalty earned Manica Diamonds maximum points as they edged Simba Bhora in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match at Gibbo yesterday.

It kept their slim title hopes alive.

Simba Bhora were the better team, especially in the first half, and Manica had ‘keeper Geoffrey Chitsumba to thank for keeping his team in the game on several occasions.

The visitors could have taken an early lead in the first quarter of an hour when the deadly partnership of Tinashe Balakasi had Tymon Machope had their sights on goal.

Chitsumba, who played his first game of the season since joining the Gem Boys, in the absence of the suspended Tedious Baye, pulled a fantastic double save denying Machope before shutting the door for Balakasi.

Manica finally found the breakthrough when Fortune Binzi burst into the box before turning veteran defender Patson Jaure, who could only use dirty tactics to stop the slippery striker.

Referee Brighton Chimene pointed to the spot four minutes before half-time.

Bhero, who is always on penalty duties for Manica, did not disappoint as he scored his fifth goal of the season with a powerful kick past the hapless goalkeeper Simbarashe Chinani.

The second half belonged to the visitors and they were patient in their build ups but were unlucky not to be rewarded in the 56th minute when Webster Tafa’s goal-bound header from close range was kept away by man-of-the-match Chitsumba.

“We had a very good first half; we created chances in the first half and I thought Tymon Machope should have scored at least a brace in the first half but he found Geoffrey Chitsumba in good form,” said Simba coach Tonderai Ndiraya.

“We created chances but we were not clinical and there came the unfortunate penalty incident, which was a genuine penalty.”

Manica Diamonds coach Jairos Tapera said:

“It was a hard-fought win for us, we were limited by Simba going forward but defensively we were solid.

“Our goalkeeper saved us on numerous occasions on his Manica debut. I am happy for him, happy for the three points.”

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