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Chicken Inn hold Bosso in Bulawayo derby

by Staff reporter
02 May 2022 at 07:52hrs | Views
Highlanders  1 - 1 Chicken Inn
HIGHLANDERS were lucky to snatch a point against a composed Chicken Inn in a Castle Lager Premiership football derby at Barbourfields yesterday.

The result left second-placed Chicken Inn two points behind leaders Dynamos who beat Whawha 2-1 on Saturday to take their points tally to 29.

Chicken Inn, who are gunning for the championship, were more organised than their counterparts in a game that had all the facets of a derby, played with tension, teams being cautious and at times emotions got the better of the players as clumsy challenges were let go by the referee.

Both coaches, Highlanders' Mandla Mpofu and Chicken Inn's Joey Antipas, felt that the draw was a fair result.

"It's two points dropped, but one gained. We could have done better defending that goal. These are big games which need big officials because the referee, I feel gave soft foul leading to their (Chicken Inn's) goal," said Mpofu.

Antipas said: "This was a highly contested game, both teams went on one another. The game itself wasn't a spectacle for the fans, as both teams went at each other. A draw was a fair result.

"I thought the referee could have controlled the game better by flashing cards to culprits that were hitting each other."

Kick-off to the derby was delayed by seven minutes, with officials waiting for an ambulance. It was Chicken Inn who had a better start and in the 10th minute Brian Muza broke on the right and chose to be selfish, making an attempt at goal instead of playing the ball to Marlvin Hwata who was unmarked on the left.

It was a wasted opportunity that the Gamecocks should have used to punish Bosso as the match was tense with chances hard to come by. Highlanders' first attempt was a half chance created by Godfrey Makaruse in the 20th minute as he took a snap shot that was punched for corner by Chicken Inn goalkeeper Donovan Bernard.

A minute later, Makaruse ghosted in from the blindside to connect a Lynoth Chikuhwa cross from the right to give Bosso the lead.

Makaruse was making his first start of the 2021/22 season, coming in for Rahman Kutsanzira who reportedly failed a Covid-19 test on Friday. The Bosso goalscorer fitted well into the game and never showed signs of rust due to lack of game time.

That goal seemed to have woken Bosso off their slumber as they began to dictate the pace.

In the 24th minute Bernard produced a brilliant save to deny Stanley Ngala a goal.

Chicken Inn quickly launched a counter-attack, with Bosso goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda called to action, blocking a Brett Amidu close-range shot with the ball falling to Muza who had his effort blocked at the goalline by Andrew Tandi.

Highlanders were winning most duels in the midfield where they had the central midfield trio of Nqobizitha Masuku, Adrian Silla and Devine Mhindirira suffocating Chicken Inn's linkmen. Because of pressure that Bosso were imposing, Chicken Inn's box-to-box midfielder Richard Hachiro was restricted to defensive zone to help anchorman Shepherd Mhlanga.

The Gamecocks were using a 3-5-2 formation which rarely troubled Bosso who were playing with a 4-4-2 formation.

Chicken Inn should have gone to the breather with a goal as they finished the first stanza stronger, but Amidu made a mess of a perfect pass from Passmore Bernard who had a quiet first half in the 44th minute, failing to direct his shot to the goal with acres of space inside the Bosso box.

At the stroke of half-time, Ngala fluffed a chance to double Highlanders' lead as he reacted slowly to a sublime pass by Peter Muduhwa, giving Chicken Inn centreback Itai Mabhunu time to clear the ball for corner. Chicken Inn kicked-off the second half just like they did in the first-half, showing composure on the ball, playing it around as they tried to find an opener, but Highlanders remained resolute.

Amidu tried to catch Sibanda off-guard with a hard and low shot in the 53rd minute, but an alert Highlanders goalie thwarted the danger. Highlanders were forced to make an injury substitution in the 58th minute after left back Mbongeni Ndlovu came out of a tussle for ball with an injury. He was replaced by striker Washington Navaya, with Makaruse pushed to left back.

Chicken Inn enjoyed superior ball possession, literally camping in Highlanders half in the opening 20 minutes of the second half, but still the goal eluded them, as Bosso soaked up the pressure. Chicken Inn coach Antipas then made a double substitution, introducing George Majika and Michael Charamba in the 71st minute.

Five minutes later, Muza equalised with a beauty, poking the ball beyond the reach of a diving Sibanda.

That goal was always coming for Chicken Inn and they never took off the foot from the pedal as they continued their search for a winner with Muza and Brighton Ncube giving Bosso defender Peter Muduhwa and Tandi a good shift.

An unmarked Navaya let his teammates down in the 86th minute when he blasted over the bar with only Donovan to beat, having been fed by Mhindirira from the left.

Source - The Herald