VETERAN defender Raymond Uchena scored the only goal of the match that helped Golden Eagles to seal a place in the Axis Solutions Super-8 football final when they beat Trojan Stars in a tightly-contested semi-final tie at Ellis Robins School yesterday.
Golden Eagles will now face Simba Bhora in the final of the US$20 000-richer tournament to be played at the end of the ZIFA Northern Region Division One Soccer League season.
Simba secured their passage on Saturday after beating Herentals Under-20 on penalties in the other semi-final.
And yesterday's match was always going to be tense with Gilbert Mushangazhike keen to make a loud statement in charge of Eagles while Raphael Kawondera, who was appointed last week, was also out to prove a point.
And it was a cracker right from the first whistle with Trojan Stars fashioning out two clear chances in the first 10 minutes but former Dynamos striker Quality Kangadzi failed to finish them off.
It was Golden Eagles who looked dangerous in front of goal each time they ventured forward. And with 19 minutes on, Uchena tapped in the only goal of the match after Trojan Stars defence failed to clear their lines.
They should have stretched their lead but their forwards fluffed their lines on several occasions.
Mushangazhike was full of praise for his lads.
"My charges played according to instruction. You know football isn't played in the field alone but it is also played beyond it.
"We talked to the players on the need to suffocate our opponents and they did just that," said Mushangazhike.
"I would like to salute my players for their spirit. They bossed the game from start to finish. It was a tight match in every respect. We had to sweat it out throughout. And I am very happy we managed to win.
"We will see what happens in the final against Simba Bhora but the final is still far away.
"At the moment, we channel our energy to the league. We will try by all means to be competitive in the league."
His opposite number Kawondera said he was happy with his players' performance despite the loss.
"You could see we played well as a team. We gave everything and created many chances. We saw many positives as a team despite the defeat," said Kawondera.