By Ricky Zililo
Three beautifully executed goals and penalty appeal waved away in the dying stages of the game were the major talking points of the Bulawayo derby featuring former champions Chicken Inn and resurgent Highlanders in this Castle Lager Premiership match played before a full house at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
Chicken Inn were the first to settle and enjoyed dominance for the better part of the game, but it was Highlanders, who drew first blood with a beauty from the boot of midfielder Brian Banda in the 43rd minute.
The central midfielder, one of Bosso’s most consistent performers so far this season, showed great technical ability by controlling a pass from Nigel Makumbe, who had weaved his way past Chicken Inn players, to strike a half volley with precision.
BB, as Banda is known as among his peers, has been enjoying a new lease of life under coach, Madinda Ndlovu. Banda controlled the ball with a tap-up before hitting a volley that went into the top right, beating diving Chicken Inn goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze.
The Gamecocks equalised within a minute into the second half, with an equally brilliant goal by Innocent Mucheneka that left Highlanders’ supporters mum.
Highlanders failed to track the goal scorer as he made a run into the box and the Maritzburg-bound midfielder hit a volley on the run inside the six-yard box after being fed by veteran Clemence Matawu.
Banda came up with an assist for Highlanders’ second goal; threading a long pass to Gabriel Nyoni and the speedy striker beat an advancing Chipezeze in the 62nd minute.
What made this goal brilliant is that it took about 10 seconds for the ball to get into Chicken Inn’s net from the time it was released by Highlanders goalkeeper, Ariel Sibanda.
The Bosso goalie passed the ball to Adrian Siila just outside his box and he fed Banda a few metres from him. Banda released a long-range pass to Nyoni, who collected it in mid-air and struck the ball past an advancing Chipezeze.
However, the Bosso celebrations lasted just two minutes, as Chicken Inn equalised through former Bosso midfielder Simon Munawa, who capitalised from a defensive mix up between Charlton Siamalonga and his keeper Sibanda.
Coach Ndlovu felt the derby lived to its billing.
“One will just put this as one of the fairest results that comes from a derby. We applied almost everything we did at training and saw it coming up, although a number of my players didn’t come to the party, as I had expected of them. They seemed a bit too heavy; they were not moving smoothly as I know them.
(In terms of goals) I think we witnessed three brilliant goals, with the other being a gift goal to Chicken Inn.
“Tactically both teams came to the party; both coaches changed lots of tactics, which saw the game come to life. I think for me, this is what we want from the region, this is the kind of competition you want and today football was the winner,” said Ndlovu.
Chicken Inn coach, Joey Antipas, who saw his charges failing to turn their early dominance into goals, with Obidiah Tarumbwa fluffing a seventh minute chance by heading wide while unmarked in the box, showered praises on his lads for twice fighting from behind.
He noted that his players were slow on the ball and played too many back passes.
He blasted referee Mhaka Magare of Hwange, saying he denied them a penalty towards the end of the game when Divine Lunga was yellow carded for diving.
Magare was handling his second game for Highlanders this season, having officiated in their 0-0 draw against Triangle United on Match Day Three.
“Very importantly we had a penalty and I don’t know why Highlanders are like sacred cows. They are being treated like sacrificial lambs, nothing goes past them. My boy got a yellow card when it was a clear penalty. But that’s all part of the game; you get those kind of decisions, especially when referees are not bold enough to make those decisions. I’m not going to complain about the point against an enterprising youthful Highlanders,” said Antipas.
Chicken Inn: Elvis Chipezeze, Passmore Bernard, Divine Lunga, Moses Jackson, Kudzi Chideu, Simon Munawa, Innocent Mucheneka, Clemence Matawu,
Xolani Ndlovu (Obriel Chirinda, 71st minute), Obidiah Tarumbwa (Darryl Nyandoro, 71st minute), Christopher Samakweri (King Nasama, 46th minute)
Highlanders: Ariel Sibanda, McClive Phiri, Honest Moyo, Peter Muduhwa, Charlton Siamalonga, Adrian Silla, Gabriel Nyoni, Brian Banda (Thabo Lunga, 82nd minute), Ozias Zibande (Ben Musaka, 65th minute), Nigel Makumbe, Godfrey Makaruse (Newman Sianchali, 65th minute)
Results in a glance
Friday: Black Rhinos 0-0 Chapungu
Saturday: Mutare City 1-0 Bulawayo Chiefs, FC Platinum 3-1 Harare City, Herentals 2-1 Bulawayo City, Nichrut 1-1 ZPC Kariba
Yesterday: Triangle United 2-1 Caps United, Shabanie Mine 1-1 Ngezi Platinum, Chicken Inn 2-2 Highlanders, Dynamos 1-1 Yadah