HIGHLANDERS . . . . (0) 2
FC PLATINUM . . . . . . (1) 3
FC PLATINUM once again beat Highlanders in a charity match as they bundled the Bulawayo giants out of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) Charities semi-finals at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
The Zvishavane-based side beat Bosso 6-5 in a penalty shootout in the CG Msipa Charity Shield semi-final at BF in March and went on to win the tournament after beating Chapungu 2-0 at Mandava Stadium.
Allan Gahadzikwa returned with a bang as he grabbed a brace scoring in either half with the other goal coming from Mitchelle Katsvairo six minutes before the final whistle.
Bosso got their two goals from substitute Ozias Zibande in the 61st minute and Erick Mudzingwa a minute before full time.
FC Platinum will now meet Caps United who beat Dynamos 1-0 in the other semi-final at Rufaro Stadium.
A crowd of about 6 000 football fans braved the chilly weather to watch the Highlanders-FC Platinum match, far less than the 15 000 anticipated by the ZNA, who are hoping to raising funds for their charitable organisations through the matches.
FC Platinum head coach Lloyd Mutasa praised his two-goal hero Gahadzikwa after the match.
“Gahadzikwa has added a new dimension by his return. It is a positive sign for the team to score three goals against Highlanders at BF,” Mutasa said.
Highlanders assistant coach Mark Mathe blamed the defeat on poor defending as Highlanders played a second tier team coming into the match that had right back Grassiano Chakafana with strikers Cleopas Dube and Mgcini Sibanda.
“We did not have a good first half with lows and ups and the two first goals came from poor defending. We tried in the second half, but it was not our day. We did not play a depleted side. All the players are part of the 29 players that we have registered,” Mathe said.
But Highlanders was outdone in the centre where FC Platinum skipper Thabani Kamusoko and Gahadzikwa had a field day, with Bosso not purposeful in their type of play with Hillary Madzivanyika, Charles Sibanda and Knox Mutizwa in midfield.
Gahadzikwa beat Highlanders goalkeeper Njabulo Nyoni with a header in the 39th minute off a Katsvairo cross.
He then struck his second in the 58th minute hitting the roof of the net from inside the penalty box after receiving a cross unmarked from Donald Ngoma.
Three minutes later Zibande, who came in for Sibanda in the 47th minute capitalised on a spill by FC Platinum goalkeeper Petros Mhari to score Bosso’s first with a header.
Then Bosso appeared to have come into the game and making strides, but on a counter-attack, Kamusoko sped with the ball on the right and flighted a cross that was met with a well-struck effort by an unmarked Katsvairo inside the box.
Substitute Mudzingwa’s well taken free-kick a minute before the final whistle beat Mhari after Bruce Kangwa had been brought down just outside the penalty box.
HIGHLANDERS: N Nyoni, G Chakafana (E Mudzingwa 47th minute), K Banda, D Ndlovu, F Chindungwe, H Madzivanyika, C Sibanda, K Mutizwa, C Dube (B Kangwa 67th minute), M Sibanda (B Kangwa 47th minute), V Ndaba
FC PLATINUM: P Mhari, Q Amini, Shoko, J Marufu, G Bello, T Kamusoko, S Sibanda (A Katebe 70th minute), A Gahadzikwa, N Ncube (T Rukanda 75th minute), M Katsvairo, D Ngoma (R Sibanda 59th minute)