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Bosso revival in a screeching halt

by Staff reporter
16 Oct 2017 at 06:15hrs | Views
Highlanders 1 - 2 FC Platinum
HIGHLANDERS' revival came to a screeching halt when they surrendered a 1-goal lead, falling to championship chasing FC Platinum in a Castle Lager Premiership match at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.

The troubled Bulawayo giants were expected to spoil the day for the platinum miners following their 4-0 drubbing of Chicken Inn a fortnight ago at the same venue. Unlike Chicken Inn, FC Platinum came well-prepared for Highlanders as they dominated ball possession for the better part of the match.

The Zvishavane side did not fall to Highlanders' trap of inviting them to attack and leave gaps at the back which Bosso could have exploited. Instead, FC Platinum attacked with caution, carefully building and passing the ball around from the back as they tried to unlock Highlanders. Surprisingly, it was Highlanders who shot into the lead in the 23rd minute courtesy of a Simon Munawa strike when he reacted quickly to tap in a rebound.

The visitors got back into the game through veteran striker Mkhokheli Dube's equaliser in the 36th minute after being fed by an impressive Bret Amidu. Veteran Highlanders midfielder Tendai Ngulube should take all the blame for FC Platinum's equaliser, losing the ball cheaply to Amidu who quickly charged at Bosso goal and opted to pass the ball to Dube who in turn fired past Nedrick Madeya. It was Dube's first goal since joining FC Platinum during the mid season break.

Ali Sadiki ensured the visitors returned to Zvishavane with maximum points with a long range grass cutter in the 78th minute as FC Platinum put brakes on Bosso revival. By winning the match, FC Platinum moved to within one point of log leaders Dynamos who are on 57 points after 28 games. FC Platinum are third, tied on 56 points with second placed Ngezi Platinum Stars who have a superior goal difference with six rounds of matches remaining. The victory against Highlanders also left FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza believing that they can claim the title. It also meant that Erol Akbay will end his tenure as Highlanders coach without beating the platinum miners in his two seasons.

"The result was the same as it was like last season when Highlanders scored first and we had to come back to win the match 2-1. Obviously Highlanders' morale was high coming into this game following their 4-0 win against Chicken Inn. We came here for a positive result and we're still in the championship mix. What was important was for us to win this encounter and ensure that we're not far from Dynamos," said Mapeza.

About his game plan, Mapeza said: "We wanted to play a 3-5-2 formation, but we changed our strategy after realising that they were employing a 4-3-3 formation. I was not surprised when we got the winner from a long range position as I encouraged my players to make attempts from outside the box and test the keeper (Mandeya)."

Bosso were without seasoned goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda who missed last week's training with a swollen ankle. Mandeya looked jittery and some critics felt that a seasoned goalkeeper like Sibanda could have saved the goals as Mandeya was beaten at the near post by Dube and conceded from Sadiki's long range effort. To his credit, Mandeya produced a fine save in the sixth minute, denying Hillary Bakacheza a goal from close range after a beautiful build-up. Dube had his 17th minute glancing header off a Rodwell Chinyengetere cross agonisingly going wide.

Two minutes later, Ralph Matema tried to catch Magalane off guard with a speculative shot after seeing the FC Platinum goalie off his line, but saw his effort go just wide. Referee of the day Ruzive Ruzive, who had a good day in office, flashed a yellow card to FC Platinum defender Gift Bello who pulled down Matema as he was charging for goal. The easiest chance of the day fell to Amidu in the 42nd minute who failed to convert after being fed by Dube inside the box and with only Mandeya to beat miscued his effort just wide of the upright.

Magalane produced the save of the day when he punched an Allan Gahadzikwa header over his cross bar for a corner in the 81st minute. Bosso coach Akbay said: "Our game plan was affected after our speedy wingers Gabriel Nyoni and Godfrey Makaruse picked a flue bug in camp. They couldn't run as much as we wanted them to and that is why we had to substitute them. However, I'm happy with how we played our football. I think we gave away soft goals after making mistakes in the midfield."

Source - zimpapers