By Innocent Kurira
Chicken Inn 1-2 Highlanders
Highlanders booked a date with perennial rivals Dynamos in the final of the Zimbabwe National Army Charities Shield final after coming from a goal down overnight to beat Chicken Inn 2-1 at Luveve Stadium yesterday morning.
The Bulawayo derby was halted in the 55th minute at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday due to a combination of heavy rains, lightning and bad light, with 10-men Chicken Inn leading 1-0 through a fourth-minute strike from Clemence Matawu.
The remainder of the game was then staged at Luveve Stadium yesterday morning after Sunday’s unplayable conditions persisted.
Chicken Inn tried to preserve their lead with a man short after defender Devine Lunga was sent off 25 minutes into Sunday’s game for tromping on Highlanders’ Godfrey Makaruse.
A long range effort by midfielder Adrian Silla in the 73rd minute gave Bosso the equaliser before defender Peter Muduhwa grabbed the winner two minutes from fulltime to send Highlanders into the final.
Bosso started the game on the front foot with coach Madinda Ndlovu deploying a back three from the onset, which allowed their wing-backs to push upfront.
The move proved to be a masterstroke as McClive Phiri terrorised Chicken Inn on the left side where the red-carded Lunga had left a void.
Phiri created Bosso’s first real chance after his low cross found Nigel Mukombe unmarked, but he skied his effort from the edge of the box.Bosso continued surging forward in search of an equaliser, launching long balls into the Chicken Inn box.
The GameCocks responded by sitting back to see out the match.
The move back fired when Silla shot from outside the box in the 73rd minute to beat Elvis Chipezeze in goal for Chicken Inn and give Bosso a deserved leveller.
The goal animated the fans and the Bosso youngsters continued to probe. Makaruse could have given Bosso the lead two minutes later when Phiri again broke on the left to send in a beautiful low cross into the box, but Makaruse failed to connect.
Sniffing the possibility of victory against a back-peddling Chicken Inn, Muduhwa ventured forward and capitalised on a goalmouth melee to tap the ball home after the Chicken Inn defence had failed to clear its lines, sending the Highlanders’ faithful into a frenzy.
Ndlovu was happy with his charges’ fighting spirit.
“We wanted to play an open game against them; we knew they had seasoned players than we had so when we conceded that goal, the game changed altogether and it was difficult for us to play because these guys are more experienced than us,” he said.
“The rains came yesterday and disturbed the game, so we had a chance to regroup for the game today.
“We came here to attack and we managed to do just that. As for the final, we will cross the bridge when we get there.
“We will do our research on Dynamos and see what we come out with. It’s a new era and we cannot read much into the past”.
Chicken Inn gaffer Joey Antipas was left fuming over his players’ poor approach to yesterday’s 35 minutes of play.
“The players failed to play according to instruction and for that I blame them. It all comes down to attitude; we did well yesterday, but today they thought we had already won the game; for them the game was over.
“We were down to 10 men, but we did not play well today. Congratulations to Bosso, they played very well. As for us, we now go back to the drawing board,” said Antipas.
Chicken Inn: Elvis Chipezeze, Passmore Bernard, Devine Lunga, Kudzai Chideu, Moses Jackson, ClemenceMatawu, Simon Munawa (Thabani Goredema 45 minutes) , Innocent Muchaneka, George Majika, Darrel Nyandoro (Obriel Chirinda), Obadiah Tarumbwa ( Adrian Banana 88 minutes)
Highlanders: Ariel Sibanda, Charlton Siamalonga, Honest Moyo, McClive Phiri, Adrian Silla, Ray Lunga (OziasZibande 55 minutes) Ben Musaka, Godfrey Makaruse (Brian Banda 88 minutes), Thabo Lunga, Peter Muduhwa, Nigel Mukombe. The Chronicle