CHICKEN INN and Highlanders played an exciting Castle Lager Premier League (PSL) stalemate at Barbourfields (BF) Stadium yesterday, but dropped in the log standings as reigning champions Dynamos leapt to the second spot by dismissing Buffaloes at Rufaro Stadium.
Chicken Inn . . . (1) 1
Highlanders . . . (1) 1
Highlanders and Chicken Inn are now square with Dynamos on 31 points. Highlanders dropped to position three and Chicken Inn to four, three points behind log leaders Harare City who dispatched Monomotapa 1-0 on Saturday at Rufaro Stadium.
In a game that started in a fast pace, Chicken Inn drew first blood through Kudakwashe Mahachi as early as the sixth minute after he powered a grounder past Bosso shot stopper Ariel Sibanda from the right after receiving a long searching cross from his left-back Brian Mbiriri.
Mahachi became yet another nightmare for Ariel after he unleashed a thunderbolt on June 22 when Chicken got their first victory over Bosso since coming into top-flight football.
But the skillful attacking ginger-haired midfielder’s goal was cancelled in the 24th minute by Bosso man-of-the-moment Milton Ncube, who also packed a brilliant drive from inside the box from a solo run from the left wing after he was set up by midfielder Mthulisi Maphosa.
Coaches from either side were impressed by yesterday’s performance.
Mandla “Lulu” Mpofu for Chicken Inn, said it was going to be difficult beating Bosso after edging the Bulawayo giants in the reverse fixture last month. He was happy with the point collected at BF.
“We cannot complain about the point that we got. It was always going to be very difficult after the three points that we got from the big club.
We always caused trouble for Highlanders when we got upfront where we dominated play, but this was a pressure game. But championship hopes are still high. We are in the right direction,” Mpofu said.
Despite having gone for four matches without a win in the league, Bosso mentor Kelvin Kaindu believes the Bulawayo giants are slowly coming back into their game. He regretted wasted chances.
“We have managed to get a goal from home but we are still mourning missed chances. We have to gain composure. The boys did quite well, but they must know that when we lose the ball we must defend,” Kaindu said.
Highlanders have not won in the last four matches, losing two times and playing two draws, with the last win on June 2, when they beat Hwange 0-1 at the Colliery.
Bosso came into the game more fired up from the outset and Maphosa could have scored two minutes into the game but, his cracker hit the right upright post with Chicken Inn goalkeeper Njabulo Nyoni a beaten man.
But against the run of play, Mahachi on the right under guard from Erick Mudzingwa in an unfamiliar left-back position, burst out with the sixth-minute goal.
Nyoni came to Chicken Inn’s rescue twice in the 32nd minute denying Milton and Maphosa from close range.
Three minutes later, Bosso skipper Innocent Mapuranga failed to clear and the ball fell onto Mkhokheli Dube’s path and he opened fire, but his effort was safely collected by an alert Sibanda.
After the hectic first 45 minutes, the tempo of the game slumped in the second half with Chicken Inn packing their midfield, seemingly content with a point from Bosso.
Bosso tried their transfer window period returnee striker Gabriel Nyoni, who came in for Njabulo Ncube in 64th minute while Chicken Inn’s Clement Matawu replaced Dube in the 76th minuteChicken Inn could court trouble from the PSL bosses after they used an undesignated entry point before the start of the match.