BUKHOSI Sibanda had to take the same penalty three times as Bantu Rovers salvaged a point against Triangle in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match played at Luveve Stadium yesterday.
Bantu Rovers . . (0) 1
Triangle . . . . . . . (1) 1
Triangle had gone ahead after just 60 seconds of action when Richard Kawondera blasted in his third goal in two matches.
But with eight minutes of play left, Moses Majika weaved his way past Praise Tonha and as he charged on goal, William Mapfumo hacked him from behind and referee Alan Bhasvi pointed to the spot.
Sibanda converted, but the referee adjudged Bantu players had strayed into the box and ordered a retake, which the hosts’ striker missed as goalkeeper Ronald Mudimu made a save.
But the far side assistant referee spotted another stray into the box, this time by Triangle defenders and ordered another retake. Sibanda found the target for Rovers to gain parity.
Triangle were dealt a huge blow half an hour into the match when Charles Rukwanhi had to be rushed to Mpilo Central Hospital with a serious head injury. Rukwanhi was restless and bleeding from the mouth and the nose.
Bantu Rovers were also forced to make an injury-inspired substitution as Lawson Nkomo limped off in the 15th minute making way for Sibanda.
Both teams retained 13th and 14th position with Triangle having a superior goal advantage.
“We don’t want to make excuses as injuries are part of the game. We have 30 players, but the second part of our squad is not quite what we want. We are going to promote some guys from the juniors. Some of the older guys that we have are commanding great leadership some are not measuring up, so we are going to be promoting some juniors. They seem to be giving us a little bit more,” Bantu Rovers coach Methembe Ndlovu said.
“The first goal they get takes a lot out of you, you panic. But I thought we showed character. We kept trying to play to win and we got something out of it. We would have loved to get three points. We don’t to want to read much into the log standings. We will take each game as it comes,”
Triangle coach Biggie Zuze was obviously not happy about the match officiating.
“I think we did very well throughout the game. It was a physical game and I think we adjusted well to the extent that in the first half we failed to play our normal game because of the high balls that were pumped up by the home team. I think the referee didn’t handle the match very well. You could see the tackle on our defensive linkman Charles Rukwanhi was a straight red. That guy went for the player not for the ball and he caused a very serious injury on the head. We felt hard done there,” he said.
Zuze said Bantu Rovers’ penalty was too soft as they had also appealed for a penalty, but none was given.
There was a three-minute stoppage when the ambulance on standby had to be driven onto the field to ferry Rukwanhi who had clashed with Teenage Hadebe in a mid-air tussle, to the hospital.