Ngezi Platinum Stars are out of the 2017 CAF Confederation Cup following a goalless draw against Recreativo do Libolo of Angola at the National Sports Stadium on 18 March.
The Mhondoro-based side lost the reverse fixture a week back by 2 goals to 1, giving Libolo a 2-1 aggregate score over the two legs of the first round .
Ngezi created clear cut opportunities to wrestle the aggregate lead from their Angolan opponents but the profligacy of forwards, Kenneth Bulaji, Macclive Phiri and Tichaona Mabvura meant there was no way through for the Zimbabweans.
Recreativo were content with the score at nil all; hence two of the visitors’ players, Wilson Macamo and Ricardo Batista the goalkeeper, were cautioned for wasting time in the first half.
A few chances were created in the first half by both sides but Partson Jaure and Kenneth Bulaji had the best chances, the former’s back heel was saved by the goalkeeper while Bulaji could steer in a Godknows Murwira cross from close range.
Ngezi coach, Tonderai Ndiraya, was in self-introspection mood as he looked no further than the collective for a scapegoat.
“We have ourselves to blame, I thought in the second half we got about three chances to score but we could not,” Ndiraya said.
The tale of missed opportunities prevailed after the interval, this time it was Bulaji’s replacement, Macclive Phiri who blasted over a lay-off from Terrence Dzukamanja; the best scoring opportunity of the afternoon went begging.
A long-range pass from Qadar Amini towards Tichaona Mabvura had the crowd on its feet but Mabvura’s resultant shot whisked past the upright, wide again.
The hosts thought they had finally broken the deadlock when Liberty Chakoroma scored in the 72nd minute but the goal was adjudged to have been scored from an offside position.
The victorious coach, Joao Paulo Costa, thanked the opposition for being a competitive side and he wished them well for future assignments.
“It was an interesting game because the opponent created some situations for us, it was a difficult game for both teams till the end.
“We want to also thank our opponent, they have a great team for the future,”
Early second half, the visitors could have cemented their advantage but Amini was on hand to head the ball off the line.
Libolo had their moments in the first half, Fabrico Simoes was the chief architect of the threatening moments but Ngezi methodically cleared their lines albeit with shouts for a penalty from what Libolo thought was a foul on Simoes in the first half.