Bosso survive Chiefs scare
Ricky Zililo, in BULAWAYO
Bulawayo Chiefs………………………….. (1) 2
Highlanders……………………………….. (0) 2
TWO well-taken free-kicks by defensive midfielder Adrian Silla, including a last-minute strike saved Highlanders an embarrassing defeat, as they staged a late comeback to share the spoils with Bulawayo Chiefs in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match at Barbourfields yesterday.
Chiefs surrendered a two-goal lead by allowing Highlanders to crawl back into the game and probably saved Bosso coach Mandla Mpofu, who was subjected to taunts from fans calling for his head.
Agitated Bosso fans were unhappy with the team’s performance and as Chiefs appeared set for maximum points, Highlanders left it late to squeeze a point that brought relief to Mpofu.
Chiefs struck first through an unlikely source; left-back Elvis Moyo, who rose majestically to head in a Billy Veremu cross from the right in the 30th minute.
Bosso players were guilty of ball watching, as they failed to track Moyo, who had overlapped and found himself facing Highlanders’ goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda.
Chiefs doubled their lead three minutes into the second half through Arthur Musiyiwa, who ghosted in from the blind side to connect a Felix Moyo cross from the right.
Just like they had done when they conceded the first goal, Bosso right-back Crispen Ncube failed to track Musiyiwa, whose first shot was punched back into play by Sibanda, before he converted the rebound.
Silla pulled one back for Highlanders in the 79th minute from a free-kick on the edge of the box following a foul on Divine Mhindirira. Silla’s strike left Chiefs’ goalkeeper Takabva Mawaya rooted to his spot.
The goal gave Bosso players a lease of life and they pressed Chiefs seeking an equaliser, which came on the stroke of full-time through a beauty from Silla, replicating his earlier strike.
Referee Mhaka Magare adjudged that Bosso’s Peter Muduhwa, who appeared to have lost possession, was fouled on the edge of the box and up stepped Silla, who scored a beauty that led to a pitch invasion by ecstatic Bosso fans, who suddenly forgotten about their earlier chants calling for Mpofu’s head.
“Those were very good free-kicks. I thought it was a very good game. We were outstanding, played excellent football and I’m very proud of the players, we played very well. We were in complete control of the game, even when they scored the first goal, we didn’t panic,” said Chiefs coach Nilton Terroso.
Chiefs should have taken an early lead in the third minute after Arthur Musiyiwa threaded a defence-splitting pass to striker Perfect Chikwende, who was let down by his first touch after timing his run well.
Musiyiwa dribbled past a cluster of Highlanders’ players in the 16th minute, but failed to beat goalkeeper Sibanda from close range and shot over the bar.
It took Highlanders about 20 minutes to settle, as Chiefs were dominant in midfield where they had Musiyiwa, Lucky Ndlela, the exciting Mthokozisi Msebe and Veremu.
Highlanders’ first goal scoring opportunity of the game fell to striker Lynoth Chikuhwa in the 25th minute when he was set through by Bukhosi Sibanda, but he miscued his effort.
Stanley Ngala should have equalised for Highlanders in the 35th minute when he got to the end of a Godfrey Makaruse cross from the left, but failed to direct his header on target with goalkeeper Mawaya flat-footed.
Two minutes later, Highlanders were lucky not to concede when some loose marking saw Musiyiwa ghosting from the blind side to get to the end of a delightful Mthokozisi Msebe cross from the right, but watched agonisingly as his shot went wide.
Highlanders tried to come back into the game with some good build-ups, but poor finishing let them down.
Makaruse breached Chiefs’ defence in the 43rd minute, but his snap shot missed the target.
Chiefs then scored in the 48th minute to silence the home team’s fans.
In the 65th minute, Highlanders’ supporters started singing “Mandla kahambe”, meaning coach Mpofu should go.
Bosso players’ body language told a story of people that had given up, with only Makaruse seemingly fighting a lone battle.
Musiyiwa brought the best of saves from Sibanda in the 75th minute before Bosso pulled one back in the 79th minute through Silla.
“I anticipated a tough game. We conceded an easy goal in the first-half and I feel my captain (Sibanda) should have done better. We also conceded early in the second-half, but I liked the fighting spirit of the boys, who I feel played for me. You could see when fans were negative (when they started chanting), but the boys got and got a point and now fans are jubilant,” said Mpofu.
Bulawayo Chiefs: Takabva Mawaya, Felix Moyo, Elvis Moyo, Kevin Moyo, Malvin Mkolo, Lucky Ndlela (Ian Nekati, 90th minute), Mthokozisi Msebe, Arthur Musiyiwa (Emmanuel Chikwende, 88th minute), Perfect Chikwende (Mandla Gasela, 88th minute), Billy Veremu (Farau Matare, 74th minute), Obriel Chirinda (Wilson Mensah, 88th minute)
Highlanders: Ariel Sibanda, Crispen Ncube (Darlington Mukuli, 56th minute), Mbongeni Ndlovu, Andrew Mbeba, Peter Muduhwa, Adrian Silla, Godfrey Makaruse, Devine Mhindirira, Stanley Ngala, Bukhosi Sibanda (Washington Navaya, 46th minute), Lynoth Chikuhwa