Brilliant Billiat rescues Yadah KHAMA Billiat

Langton Nyakwenda

Sports Reporter

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FC Platinum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (0) 1

KHAMA Billiat is the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League’s best-paid player.

And yesterday he went some way to justify the price tag with a sublime show that helped Yadah Stars rescue a point against former champions FC Platinum at Heart Stadium.

The game attracted some high-profile football personalities and the 33-year-old Billiat did not disappoint, scoring his fourth goal of the season.

Yadah have been stuttering and they know every point will matter when it comes to the final run-in.

With FC Platinum seemingly heading for a crucial win, after midfielder Juan Mutudza had scored in the 77th minute, Billiat turned on the magic right at the death.

The former Warriors star, expertly struck the ball from outside the box to level the matters and deny FC Platinum their third win on the bounce.

The result means Yadah Stars have now not lost against FC Platinum in the league in their last three meetings.

Last season Yadah did a league double on the platinum miners.

FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza acknowledged the two points dropped but was still happy with the one they got, which he would gladly take back to Zvishavane.

Mapeza’s men are now on 25 points and tied at the top with Manica Diamonds, who visit Highlanders at Barbourfields this afternoon.

FC Platinum, however, enjoy a better goal difference.

“Look, we scored from a set piece and we needed to also look at what our opponents were doing.

“We ended up giving the ball away and the second ball they scored.

“But the boys worked so hard. I can’t take anything away from them,’’ said Mapeza.

Panashe Mutimbanyoka hit the post in the first half for FC Platinum.

Mandla Mlilo’s long-range effort then took a weird deflection and deceived David Bizabani, but the ball went slightly over the bar.

Nine minutes after the restart, Billiat once again displayed his brilliance, hooking the ball beyond the defender before threading a fine through ball for Evans Rusike who blasted wide.

On the other end, Davison Marowa stole the ball from Clive Mandiveyi, and raced towards the goal but he was thwarted by Munhupedzi.

In the 70th minute, Mutimbanyoka skied his effort after a perfect turn and shoot, although it appeared as if a Yadah defender was pulling his shirt.

FC Platinum thought they deserved a penalty for that incident.

Mutudza then scored the opener in the 77th minute when Munhupedzi punched Jarrison Selemani’s curling free-kick onto his path.

It was Selemani’s first touch after coming on for Marowa who had also caused the foul.

Just when FC Platinum were cruising towards victory, Billiat had other ideas.

“My boys played well but we conceded a soft goal,’’ Yadah coach Thomas Ruzive said.

“We are progressing very well, last week we beat Arenel Movers and today we have held the champions.’’Yadah now, have 14 points from 13 games.

They have three wins, five draws and as many losses.

On their part, FC Platinum will want to quickly forget about this draw and focus on Sunday’s big test against Dynamos at Mandava. Yesterday they were missing the services of Shepherd Mhlanga and Mutimbanyoka had to slot into a more central role.

Skipper Rainsome Pavari also did well at centre-back.

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