From Ricky Zililo in Bulawayo
Chicken Inn……. 0
LEADERS Highlanders dropped their first Castle Lager Premiership soccer points at home as they were held to a goal-less draw by city rivals Chicken Inn at Barbourfields yesterday.
This was the first time that Highlanders have failed to score in a league encounter and Chicken Inn became the first to salvage a point against Bosso at Emagumeni. With a bit of luck, either of the two teams could have won the game although it was Chicken Inn who created more scoring opportunities than the hosts.
Highlanders took their points tally to 23 from nine outings while Chicken Inn have amassed 15 points from 10 games. The Adam Ndlovu coached Chicken Inn players never allowed Bosso to enjoy their normal passing game, closing in on their opponents.
“Yeah getting a point is better but I am not all that happy because we should have won this game. I am happy with the fact that we got something but we wasted many chances,” Ndlovu said.
From the first whistle, Chicken Inn camped inside Highlanders’ half searching for an early goal and they could have taken the lead in the seventh minute when Tendai Ndoro released Thomas Chimenya but the latter, unmarked inside the box, sent his effort wide.
That close shave made Highlanders to up the tempo of their game and they almost caught the visitors on a counter-attack four minutes later when Milton Ncube broke on the right, dribbled past Brian Mbiriri and tried to send a cross to Graham Ncube in the box but Guide Goddard timely intercepted the ball.
From then on, the battle was more concentrated in the midfield with both sides trying to open each other.
In the 30th minute, national Under-20 star Kudakwashe Mahachi forced Highlanders’ goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda to acrobatically tip the ball for a corner after the former had taken a beautiful free-kick from the right searching for the top corner.
Two minutes later, Chicken Inn survived a scare when Highlanders’ midfielder Peter Moyo blocked a Masimba Mambare goal bound shot. This was after Knox Mutizwa had made his way past Chicken Inn’s defender Moses Jackson, passed the ball to Mambare who then took a shot at goal.
Five minutes before half-time, Chicken Inn’s striker Marshal Marime wasted a glorious scoring opportunity as he directed his header over the bar with Sibanda out of action. Another chief culprit in missing chances was Ndoro who selfishly went for goal from outside the box instead of passing any of the three players who were better positioned and called for the ball.
Chicken Inn had the woodwork to thank in the 54th minute when Danny Phiri almost beat his goalkeeper Njabulo Nyoni as he tried to clear a cross. Nyoni made a great save in the 69th minute denying Graham a goal from close range.
Three minutes later, Highlanders had a penalty appeal turned down by referee Bekezela Makeka after Chicken Inn’s captain Felix Chindungwe handled the ball in the box. Highlanders’ coach Kelvin Kaindu said he would work on his team’s finishing ahead of Wednesday’s clash against Dynamos at Barbourfields.
“Our strike force was not that lethal today but it happens in football. We will work out on our shortcomings and hope to get it right in our next game,” Kaindu said.
Highlanders: A. Sibanda, A. Musasa, D. Ndlovu, I. Mapuranga, B. Kangwa, M. Maphosa, P. Moyo, M. Ncube (H. Masuku 88th minute), G. Ncube (B. Chikaka 74th minute), K. Mutizwa (S. Munawa 51st minute), M. Mambare.
Chicken Inn: N. Nyoni, F. Chindungwe, K. Mahachi (C. Nkomo 74th minute), M. Jackson, G. Goddard, B. Mbiriri, T. Ndoro, M. Marime (E. Chikwaikwai 79th minute), T. Chimenya (L. Mpofu 60th minute), T. Goredema.
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