By Sikhumbuzo Moyo
They were in control, they had better ball possession, they had the numbers in terms of supporters but somehow Highlanders left Zvishavane with their tails in between their legs as FC Platinum truly trounced them with three out-of-the-ordinary goals.
Their third goal was a gem from their former player Charles Sibanda who hit a first time volley from outside the box to all but seal Amahlolanyama’s fate.
“We just collapsed in the second half, our season is now over. No more talk about the league title now,” said a clearly disappointed Highlanders coach Erol Akbay after the match.
Highlanders started the match clearly the better side with exciting and tactful passes with almost forgotten Godfrey Makarutse, nicknamed Baba Jukwa, having a field day on the left side of the attack.
Fans were ejected from their seats in the ninth minute when holding midfielder Simon Munawa’s well timed speculative shot saw FC Platinum goalie Petros Mhari hitting against the upright, much to the amusement of fans.
Four minutes later the handful Makarutse shook his head in disbelief after Mhari saved his long drive from outside the box.
Makarutse had dispossessed Ian Nekati, pushed forward and let loose the shot.
Munawa was back to ask very serious questions again on Mhari with another pile driver in the 24th minute.
All along Bosso were in control of the proceedings but goals could just not come. Sensing danger, FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza who, at some point, fell down after being “hit” by a suspected missile from the terraces resulting in a six-minute stoppage, made a well timed tactical substitution, pulling out Tarisai Rukanda for Charles Sibanda in the 31st minute, who made an immediate impact into the game.
Just before the breather Sibanda’s intelligent pass could have earned the home side the lead but Walter Musona was ruled out for offside by referee Norman Matemera.
The first goal came in the 51st minute through Gerald Takwara’s header, which was later proved to have been aided by a hand, through replays. It however stood.
Akbay reacted in the 63rd minute with a direct substitution, pulling out Ralph Matema for Allan Gahadzikwa.
The home side were 2-0 up in the 72nd minute after Musona beat an ill-conceived offside trap, rounded off an advancing Ariel sibanda, charged towards goal and moments before confirming further misery to Bosso sent Tendai Ndlovu to the other side with a beautiful dummy and then just pushed the ball into an empty net.
By then it was almost clear that the platinum boys were well on their way to a first ever double over Amahlolanyama.
As the clock ticked away and with Highlanders supporters expecting at least a face saver, Sibanda struck against the run of play. What a beauty the goal was! There was nothing that Ariel could have done.
“Like I said, our last two games are a must win, we are still in it, the rest will take care of itself. It is sad that the game was turned into a warzone and we can’t have that. Football must be a family gathering,” said Mapeza, sporting an armsling.
FC Platinum: Petros Mhari, Kelvin Moyo, Elvis Moyo, Winston Mhango, Gerald Takwara, Walter Musona, Gift Bello, Rodwell Chinyengetere (Nqobizitha Masuku 89th min), Tarisai Rukanda (Charles Sibanda 31st min), Marshall Mudehwe, Ian Nekati,
Highlanders: Ariel Sibanda, Tendai Ngulube, Honest Moyo, Tendai Ndlovu (Brian Banda 76th min), Peter Muduhwa, Simon Munawa, Rahman Kutsanzira, Godfrey Makarutse, Ralph Matema (Allan Gahadzikwa 63rd min), Prince Dube.
Results at glance
Triangle United 0-1 Dynamos; Hwange 0-0 Chapungu; CAPS United 1-0 Ngezi Platinum; Chicken Inn 1-0, Border Strikers FC Platinum 3-0 Highlanders Saturday Mutare City 2-2 Harare City; Tsholotsho 1-2 Bulawayo City; ZPC Kariba 0-0 How Mine. Chronicle