Heavies square up for Mbada quarters

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THE first round matches of the lucrative Mbada Diamonds Cup had no major surprises as the league’s big three Dynamos, CAPS United and Highlanders sailed through.
It was action all round the country as the third edition of the Mbada Diamonds Cup got underway.
Cup holders Dynamos managed to squeeze through to the next round after silencing Beitbridge side Tripple B 1-0 at Gibbo Stadium in Triangle on Sunday.
It was Clive Kawinga’s goal that made the difference and sent league debutants Tripple B out of the tournament. Last year, Dynamos had to gamble in the penalty lottery to progress to the next stage after relegated Quelaton held them to a goalless draw in regulation time.
The late winner was important for the defending champions as they secured a place in the round of eight.
Dynamos, Highlanders, CAPS United, Chicken Inn, Harare City, Hwange, How Mine and Buffaloes are through to the round of eight.
How Mine are the only debutants to sail through the first round of the Mbada Diamonds Cup after Tripple B, Triangle and returnees Black Rhinos were eliminated.
How Mine beat the returnees Chauya Chipembere, as Black Rhinos are affectionately known, 1-0 at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo.
Philani Ncube’s side are participating in their first Cup game in the top flight and are crafting their own history in the Mbada Diamonds Cup.
Chicken Inn had to settle a score with Shabanie Mine last Saturday when they silenced the BancABC Sup8r Champions with a 3-0 drubbing at Mandava Stadium. The two had met in the semi-final match of the Sup8r in Bulawayo with the Gamecocks on the receiving end.
Chicken Inn were the first team to qualify in regulation time after Buffaloes and CAPS United needed the penalties to qualify for the next round.
CAPS United managed to beat youthful Motor Action on penalties 7-6 at Sakubva Stadium in Mutare while Buffaloes beat Black Mambas 4-2 at Rimuka Stadium, Kadoma.
Highlanders managed to progress after beating debutants Triangle 3-2 at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo.
Gabriel Nyoni scored the fastest goal of the first round as he fired home in two minutes into the game. Bosso have a chance of earning silverware this season after falling by the wayside in the Sup8r and Bob 89 Super Cup earlier.
The Bulawayo giants are still in the premiership race. They lost on goal difference last year to Dynamos.
The Mbada Diamonds Cup, which has a lot of incentives for players and officials is a must-win for all teams as it will change the clubs’ bank balances. The incentives get bigger with each stage of the competition until the final.
Coalminers made a historic win over fellow miners FC Platinum with a 1-0 win over the BancABC Sup8r finalists. The penalty by Gerald Ndlovu separated the two teams with FC Platinum being the casualty, crashing out of the Diamonds Cup.
The loss meant the Zvishavane-based side are left with one silverware hope, the PSL championship which, however, is rather a pipe dream for the 2011 league bridesmaids.
Monomotapa, Mbada Diamonds Cup finalists in 2012, crashed out in the first stage after a solitary strike by Zimbabwe international Silas Songani secured Harare City’s first appearance in the quarter finals of the cup.
With three Harare teams and three Bulawayo teams having qualified, two derbies might be in the offing in the next stage of the country’s richest knockout tournament.
Depending on the criteria to be used for the quarter final draw, thrilling football is expected in the four matches.

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