Highlanders . . . . . 0
Chicken Inn . . (0) 1
HIGHLANDERS lost their fourth league match in a row blowing their chances of a top-four Castle Lager Premier Soccer League finish after losing to Chicken Inn at Hartsfield Rugby Grounds yesterday.
George Majika’s classic curler three minutes into the second half was all Chicken Inn needed to collect maximum points and move to position five with 40 points, dislodging Bosso to position seven.
The match was marred by gross indiscipline shown by Highlanders attacking midfielder Charles Sibanda.
After three incidents of open defiance to coach Mark Mathe’s instructions, Sibanda was pulled out in the 54th minute and headed straight to the dressing rooms before emerging and making it to the terraces.
This drew the ire of Bosso fans who wanted to vent their anger on the striker until he was escorted back to the bench by some sympathisers as fans from the AmaZulu Stadium end were charging towards him.
Police details had to intervene before all broke loose.
After the match, the Bosso fans were seen congratulating Chicken Inn head coach Joey Antipas for the win as they chanted anti-Mathe slogans.
Chicken Inn dominated the first half with a stronger midfield of skipper Danny Phiri, Thabani Goredema, Bheki Ncube, Majika and Clemence Matawu with Highlanders clueless in the middle of the park.
And as early as the 12th minute goalkeeper Munyaradzi Diya made a spectacular save punching away Phiri’s curler from a dead ball situation.
Diya came to the rescue again in the 26th minute to save a Clemence Matawu effort after a mix-up by central defenders Dumisani Ndlovu and Innocent Mapuranga.
Antipas was elated with the win.
“It was a fine display and we deserved to win the game,” he said.
“I would like to say well done to the guys. We are happy with the result. We got it right in the midfield where we controlled the game. All this is attributed to a positive mindset, good fighting spirit and togetherness. We are eyeing a top-four finish, but we will see with the four matches remaining.”
Bosso came in strong in the second half with the introduction of Ozias Zibande, Knox Mutizwa and King Nadolo for Kudzanai Machazane, Sibanda and Welcome Ndiweni but the goals were not coming.
Midfielder Felix Chindungwe, who fought a lone battle, had his 70th minute effort hitting the cross bar while Mutizwa shot wide with only goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze to beat in the 78th minute.
Two minutes later, Zibande’s header also hit the cross bar from a Mutizwa corner-kick.
Zibande once again had his effort saved by Chipezeze as Bosso continued to bombard Chicken Inn.
A minute before the final whistle, referee Thabani Bhamala awarded Bosso an indirect free-kick inside Chicken Inn’s penalty box which was wasted by Mutizwa.
Mathe blamed the loss on bad luck.
“It was a very tough match. We didn’t start well tactically and the offensive was not good. In the second half we opened up the wings and created a number of chances. What we need is luck, we did not have it and Chicken Inn had it,” Mathe said.
Highlanders: M Diya, S Munawa, H Moyo, D Ndlovu, I Mapuranga, F Chindungwe, P Manhanga, W Ndiweni (K Nadolo 70th minute), C Sibanda (K Mutizwa 54th minute), B Kangwa, K Machazane (O Zibande (46th minute)
Chicken Inn: E Chipezeze, M Jackson, B Mbiriri, L Mhlanga, J Bernard, D Phiri, G Majika (T Banda 58th minute), T Goredema, I Lawe, B Ncube, C Matawu (C Nkomo 82nd minute)