Herentals cruised to the final of the Chibuku Super Cup with a 4-3 win over defending champions FC Platinum in a pulsating semi final match at Mandava stadium on Sunday.
The win by Herentals extinguished FC Platinum’s hopes of winning a double this season as they are assured of the league title as they are eleven points ahead of second placed Dynamos with four matches before the end of the season. FC Platinum can be crowned champions next weekend should they win their next match but the quest for a double was erased by a spirited Herentals.
Avi Mataranyika came off the bench in the second half to inspire Herentals’ comeback after having fallen to a Walter Musona first half strike. The diminutive Mataranyika who replaced John Zhuwawo in the last ten minutes, brought Herentals back into the match with a strike from outside the box on the stroke of fulltime to give the Harare based some confidence going into the penalty shootout. Herentals looked composed in the shootouts with Blessing Majarira, William Kapumha , Gibson Chinobva scored the opening three spot kicks before Wilmore Chimbetu shot wide. The Herentals were given a lifeline when Nomore Chinyerere had his kick saved by impressive Takudzwa Chikosi before Juan Mutudza skied his effort over the bar. Clemence Gobvu then struck the winning penalty torching wild celebrations among Herentals players and some travelling fans.
An elated Herentals coach Kumbirai Mutiwekuziva said the passage to the Chibuku Super Cup final was dream come true for them as they have always haboured ambitions of playing in African club football competitions.
“We aim to be one of the big clubs in Zimbabwe and for you to be big, you need to win accolades. Now we are closer towards winning the Chibuku Super Cup,” Mutiwekuziva said.
“The determination by the players to fight back and score an equaliser with at the death showed our character as a team. We don’t give in easily because we know our capabilities and also where we want to be. Of course Zimbabwe is suspended from international football at the moment but we are confident that a solution to the challenges facing the country will be found and the international football ban is lifted.”
Herentals will now face Bulawayo Chiefs in the final to be played on 19 November at Barbourfields stadium in Bulawayo. Bulawayo Chiefs edged Black Rhinos 5-4 on penalties after goalless stalemate in regulation time.
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