Highlanders . . . . . . . (0)1
Chicken Inn . . . . . . . (0) 1
FC Platinum . . . . . . . . . . 0
Motor Action . . . . . . . . . 0
Highlanders were held to a 1-1 draw by Chicken Inn in a lacklustre Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) match played at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday, while moneybags FC Platinum huffed to a 0-0 draw against Motor Action at Mandava Stadium.
Both goals in the Bosso-Chicken Inn match came in the second half after a dreary 45 minutes first stanza of the lifeless encounter.
Bosso scored first through Graham Ncube in the 53rd minute after what appeared to be a dubious penalty awarded to the Bulawayo football giants following a 50-50 tussle for ball possession between Eric Mudzingwa and Morris Kadzola inside Chicken Inn’s penalty box.
Referee Bryton Malandule pointed to the spot and up stepped Graham Ncube who sent Chicken Inn goalkeeper Njabulo Nyoni the wrong way.
Surprisingly, Kadzola was not cautioned for the alleged infringement on Mudzingwa.
The coming in of substitute Thomas Chimenya changed the game for Chicken Inn as he combined well with midfielder Canaan Nkomo and they were rewarded in the 76th minute.
Nkomo spotted an unmarked Chimenya inside Highlanders half who powered a shot which was punched away by Bosso goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda to Danny “Deco” Phiri who pushed the ball home for the equaliser.
The match had nothing to write home about except for the Highlanders penalty and substitute Misheck Mburayi who only played 15 matches before he was recalled to the bench for poor showing.
Chicken Inn coach Philani “Beefy” Ncube was happy with his boys’ second-half performance, but was not amused with the penalty awarded to Bosso.
“It was a fair result. As much as we wanted to win, it was unfortunate the referee contributed to Highlanders’ goal. Unfortunately, we are a small team and the referee is a human being. It is one of those things in football, but otherwise I am happy with the performance of the boys,” Beefy said.
Highlanders’ gaffer Mkhuphali “Mr Cooper” Masuku was content with picking up a point.
“We did not play well, but they looked like they also wanted a draw. It was a derby and I think it’s a fair result,” Mr Cooper said.
At Mandava, Motor Action refused to surrender top spot when they closed down FC Platinum to claim a point.
The result condemned Platinum to a three-game winless and goalless streak and mounted more pressure on the expensively-assembled club.
Platinum drew 0-0 against Zimbabwe Saints last Sunday in Bulawayo before losing to Highlanders 1-0 in a mid-week fixture on Wednesday.
They remained joint leaders with Motor Action on 41 points with the Harare outfit enjoying a superior goal difference.
Platinum’s first assistant coach Philani Mabhena was missing from the bench after suspension for alleged insubordination.
Coaches from both teams were satisfied with the outcome of the match.
“It was a very tight game, more tactical infact. Both teams played great football, but a draw is a fair result,” said Platinum coach Rahman Gumbo.
“It was a top-of-the-table clash with a lot of tension and deserved a draw because the game had very minimum (scoring) chances.
“I am not going to cry about a point secured away because we were playing in a fortress,” said Bulls coach Joey Antipas.
The afternoon started with Platinum employing intimidating tactics before kick-off when the host marshalls refused Motor Action players entry onto the pitch for warm-up until the home team’s players stepped into the field.
A few minutes later, Platinum supporters splashed some urine-like liquid on Motor Action assistant coach Prince Matore.
The match then kicked off with both teams employing a more cautious approach with very little openings at both ends.
Nine minutes into play, the visitors’ centre-back Godfrey Moyo cleared a goal-bound headers from Donald Ngoma, who had risen high to meet a Khumbulani Banda long throw.
Allan Gahadzikwa’s free-kick just outside the box forced Platinum goalkeeper Tafadzwa Dube to make a brilliant save after 36 minutes.
The hosts then launched a late charge at the end of the first period when Ntokozo Tshuma came face-to-face with Bulls goalie Marlon Jani after being fed by Ngoma, but his shot was deflected for a corner.
Ngoma missed the target by a whisker a few seconds later.
In the second period, a quick exchange of passes between Tawanda Nyamandwe and Kuda Musharu saw Issac Masame’s resultant shot missing the target narrowly.
A long free-kick by Jani with a minute to go was met by Musharu at an acute angle, but he failed to squeeze the ball past Dube.