AN incident-filled first half, sparked by referee Philani Ncube’s decision to reverse a penalty that he had awarded to Caps United against Highlanders in the 21st minute, spoiled what could have been a humdinger of a Castle Lager Premiership tie at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
REPORT BY FORTUNE MBELE
Highlanders . . . . 0
Caps United . . . . 0
As the Green Machine piled pressure on Bosso, Rahman Kutsanzira broke loose and second linesman Brighton Nyika raised his flag to signal offside, but Ncube did not notice his colleague and instead awarded a penalty to Caps United as Bosso right-back Simon Munawa had felled Kutsanzira inside the box.
After Ncube had pointed to the spot, instead of Nyika remaining with his flag up, he moved and positioned himself for the taking of the penalty – probably thinking he had been overruled.
Before the spot-kick could be taken, fourth official Bekezela Makeka had a word with Ncube and after deliberations, the centre man consulted Nyika and the penalty decision was reversed. Bosso were awarded an offside instead, resulting in a free-kick.
But then a scuffle ensued among players from both sides after that decision and police, club officials and match commissioner Sabelo Sibindi had to intervene before the match resumed after a four-minute stoppage.
Munawa had been shown the yellow card and following the decision to reverse the penalty, it would mean, logically, the caution was rescinded!
After that Ncube had no control of the rest of the first half.
A minute before the penalty fracas, Caps United defender Arnold Chiveya had been cautioned for unsporting behaviour and in the 36th minute he received his marching orders for a second bookable offence after a crude tackle on Bosso’s attacking midfielder Milton Ncube.
However, Caps United coach Taurai Mangwiro was cautious about making any comments on match officiating and the reversed penalty.
“It brought some confusion, but we cooled our boys down for the match to resume. It was an incident that I feel had we not cooled down and concentrated, we could have lost the match,” Mangwiro said.
After the goalless draw, Bosso go to position two on 30 points, one behind Harare City while Caps United are on position five with 27 points displacing FC Platinum who lost 2-0 to Black Rhinos at Rimuka Stadium.
Bosso coach Kelvin Kaindu was happy with the point after losing the last two matches to Chicken Inn and Caps United respectively.
“We tried, especially since we are coming from a losing streak. Getting a point was a plus after coming from those three losses,” Kaindu said.
Mangwiro felt it had been a good game for Caps United.
“I think it was a good game. We went in and showed our intentions and with a little bit of luck, we could have come out with something. We need to start getting positive results especially away from home,” Mangwiro said.
The match started with Bosso more on the offensive with beautiful build-ups, but against the run of play and in the sixth minute, Caps’ Dominic Mukandi set up Dominic Chungwa inside the box and the striker skied his effort.
Another chance for Chungwa came in the 10th minute, and with only Munyaradzi Diya to beat, he could not and the goalkeeper made a brilliant save.
Diya once again came to Bosso’s rescue five minutes later to safely collect a Kutsanzira shot.
After that it was the circus surrounding the reversed penalty decision and the not-amused Caps fans pelted Diya with objects from the Mpilo end. That also led to a brief shortage after Chiveya, saw red.
The second half did not have much action. Violence erupting between the Highlanders and Caps fans after the match spilling out of the stadium.
Highlanders: M Diya, B Kangwa, S Munawa (M Maphosa 70th minute), E Mudzingwa, I Mapuranga, H Madzivanyika, H Masuku, B Ncube, G Ncube (B Chikaka 49th minute), M Mambare (N Ncube 54th minute), M Ncube
Caps United: T Dube, T Khumbuyani, A Chiveya (red card 36th minute), T Munyanduri, H Zvirekwi, M Muchenje (S Makatuka 40th minute), T Samanja, R Kutsanzira (G Phiri 79th minute), D Mukandi, L Fiyado (D Rediyoni 82nd minute), D Chungwa