STALEMATE AT BARBOURFIELDS . . . DeMbare, Bosso fire blanks again
Ricky Zililo, in BULAWAYO
Highlanders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0
Dynamos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0
FOUR games and four draws apiece and one goal between them, the country’s football giants Highlanders and Dynamos continued with their winless streak but Bosso shot back to the top of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League table following yesterday’s stalemate at Barbourfields Stadium.
Harare giants Dynamos should be getting worried by their blunt strike-force as they have not scored in 360 minutes of open football.
They last found the target in the 2-0 win over CAPS United on April 30.
Bosso on the other hand have one goal in their run of four successive draws. The only goal they scored during their four-match winless run was in the 1-1 draw against Cranborne Bullets last week in Harare, where goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda converted a penalty.
In yesterday’s rearranged Battle of Zimbabwe encounter, a draw was a fair result as the game was highly tactical with both teams going pound-for-pound especially in the first half.
The draw powered Highlanders to the summit with 18 points from 10 games, just a point ahead of second-placed Ngezi Platinum Stars.
DeMbare on the other hand remained stuck on sixth position with 15 points.
Coming into yesterday’ match, there were so many expectations from both sets and with fans turning out in numbers for a match whose charges were hiked, they got a real value for their money.
The match was very tactical and entertaining, both teams patiently building from the back and looking for openings in the first half.
The passing football was a great exhibition as the two teams kept the ball on the field without employing delaying tactics.
For Bosso, their coach Baltemar Brito surprisingly benched his trusted strikers Lynoth Chikuhwa and Stanley Ngala, starting with Calvin Chigonero who was ably supported by pint-sized Elshamar Farasi, who had a good game.
The two forwards fought hard, pressing DeMbare.
Farasi could have found his first goal in Highlanders colours in the 20th minute, only for the upright to deny him a goal with goalkeeper Taimon Mvula cleanly beaten. The pint-sized attacker was at the end of a sleek move involving McKinnon Mushore and the lively Chigonero.
Two minutes later, Highlanders’ left back Archiford Faira got a yellow card for illegally stopping Issa Sadiki who was lively for DeMbare on the wing.
In the 27th minute, Dynamos striker Jayden Baraki failed to keep his shot on target after being set through by Tendai Matindife inside the box.
A minute later, DeMbare won a free kick on the left side of the box and up stepped Sadiki who sent a cross that Dynamos players attacked at the far post but Ariel Sibanda easily collected.
Dynamos supporters at the Mlilo End threw missiles in the 39th minute protesting a throw-in call made against them by assistant referee Salani Ncube before it was overruled by referee Brighton Chimene.
Three minutes later, Chimene was spot-on when he turned down a Bosso penalty appeal after Farasi appeared to have been brought down as he waltzed his way into the box. The Bosso left back was lucky to escape without a card.
Highlanders’ goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda kept his team in the game with a perfect save at the stroke of halftime to deny Donald Mudadi a close range goal. Bosso fans at the Soweto End threw missiles as they felt first assistant referee Tafadzwa Nkala should have flagged for offside.
The second half saw Dynamos starting strongly, pushing Highlanders to their half in search of a goal.
DeMbare enjoyed more ball possession but indecision and resolute defending by Highlanders’ backline which had Peter Muduhwa, Mbingeni Ndlovu, Faira and Brighton Manhire shut them out.
Dynamos tried to attack through the middle where Tanaka Shandirwa bossed the midfield being supported by Junior Makunike, but they didn’t have that final pas to crack Highlanders.
Manhire was called to action to timely intercept a pass by Emmanuel Paga which was intended for Eli Illunga who was coming from the blind side with an empty net at his sight in the 62nd minute.
DeMbare kept piling pressure and in the 70th minute Muduhwa rose to head away a searching cross from the right by an impressive Sadiki.
Illunga’s 86th minute long-range shot was coolly collected by Sibanda, who immediately launched a counter attack leading to Washington Navaya’s header off a Muduhwa’s hitting the crossbar.
A minute before full-time, McKinno Mushore took one for the team, bringing down Dynamos striker Tinashe Makanda as he was going for goal. At the end of the day, the draw was a fair result.
“I think a draw was a fair result even though we dominated the second half. It was an entertaining match. Both teams expressed themselves well, showing that they wanted the victory. I’m sure fans really enjoyed some good football displays from both teams.
“Such football display brings back fans to the stadium,” said Dynamos’ coach Herbert Maruwa. His Bosso counterpart Brito shared the same sentiments.
“They did well, the changes we made were not that the players did bad but we wanted different dynamics. It was a beautiful game, a tactical game and it was an open game and at the end of the day, as much as we wanted to win, I think we did well,” said Brito.
Highlanders: Ariel Sibanda, Andrew Mbeba (Lynoth Chikuhwa, 69th minute), Archiford Faira, Mbongeni Ndlovu, Peter Muduhwa, Melikhaya Ncube, Brighton Manhire (Mason Mushore, 77th minute), Darlington Mukuli, McKinnon Mushore, Elshamar Farasi (Washington Navaya, 80th minute), Calvin Chigonero (Stanley Ngala, 77th minute)
Dynamos: Taimon Mvula, Emmanuel Jalai, Elvis Moyo, Kelvin Moyo, Donald Dzvinyai, Junior Makunike, Donald Mudadi (Tinashe Makanda, 88th minute), Tanaka Shandirwa, Tendai Matindife (Emmanuel Paga, 59th minute), Jayden Baraki (Eli Illunga, 59th minute), Issa Sadiki (Nyasha Chintuli, 88th minute)