FC PLATINUM beat Highlanders to reach the final of the Independence Trophy in a mediocre match that had to be decided by a penalty lottery at Barbourfields Stadium (BF) yesterday.
Highlanders ……….. 0
FC Platinum ………. 0
(FC Platinum win 6-5 on penalties)
Mamelodi Sundowns-bound Kudakwashe Mahachi, who had one of his worst matches since joining Highlanders, was the villain as his spot-kick was saved by FC Platinum goalkeeper Talbert Shumba after both sides had scored all their first five penalty kicks.
It was the first time that Platinum beat Bosso at BF since joining the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League in 2011, to cruise through to the final of the Independence Cup where they will date holders Dynamos, who beat Harare City 4-2 in a penalty shootout after a goalless deadlock in 90 minutes at Rufaro Stadium.
Highlanders scored their spot-kicks through Mthulisi Maphosa, Charles Sibanda, Bruce Kangwa, Gabriel Nyoni and Innocent Mapuranga while FC Platinum’s Qadir Amin, Thabani Kamusoko, Raphael Muduviwa, Wisdom Mutasa and Nelson Maziwisa converted for the Zvishavane-based outfit.
Mahachi had his grounder safely collected by Shumba before a confident FC Platinum central defender James Marufu beat Highlanders goalkeeper Njabulo “Popo” Nyoni to send his teammates and a handful of fans in the Mpilo-end stand into wild celebrations. FC Platinum coach Lloyd Mutasa was delighted after the match and said he was looking forward to playing in the final and lifting the Independence Trophy.
“It is our first time to beat Highlanders at BF and it is a good sign looking ahead.
“We had several chances, but we could not turn the creativity into goals,” Mutasa said.
On the final, Mutasa quipped: “Who would not want to win a cup?”
Highlanders have not scored in the last four matches and a new-look side by stand-in coach Mark Mathe yesterday was dominated by FC Platinum especially in midfield where Kamusoko had a field day with Marshall Mudehwe, Sadiki and Obrey Chirwa.
Mathe disappeared into the dressing room after the match and did not grant journalists a post-match interview.
The Highlanders midfield of Hillary Madzivanyika, Welcome Ndiweni, Mahachi and Sibanda did not click and failed on recovery each time FC Platinum was on the offensive.
Chirwa could have scored as early as the second minute after he was set up by Sadiki, but had his weak shot saved by Nyoni.
Another build-up by Sadiki and Chirwa got to the end of Njabulo “Tshiki” Ncube in the 13th minute, but he missed a sitter with only Nyoni to beat. Sadiki wasted a free-kick two minutes later when he was brought down by Kangwa.
Bosso came back into the game and in the 30th minute Gabriel’s header from a Mahachi pass was deflected for a corner-kick.
Then it was FC Platinum all over Highlanders once again going into the second half with misses from Tshiki and substitute Walter Musona.
Cleopas “Balotelli” Dube came in for an ineffective Knox Mutizwa in the 57th minute winning aerial balls and in the 76th minute he set up Mahachi who skied his effort.
Another chance for Bosso came in the 84th minute, but Sibanda’s shot hit the cross-bar with Bosso fans already up in the air.
The coming in of Felix Chindungwe for Madzivanyika in the 86th minute changed things for Highlanders, but it was a case of too little, too late.
Highlanders: N Nyoni, S Munawa, B Kangwa, D Ndlovu, I Mapuranga, H Madzivanyika (F Chindungwe 86th min), K Mutizwa (C Dube 57th min), C Sibanda, G Nyoni, W Ndiweni (M Maphosa 65th min), K Mahachi
FC Platinum: T Shumba, Q Amin, R Muduviwa, J Marufu, G Bello, T Kamusoko, S Shoko, O Chirwa (W Musona 46th min), M Mudehwe, N Ncube (N Maziwisa 72nd min), A Sadiki (W Mutasa 67th