BY FORTUNE MBELE
CHICKEN INN . . . . . .(0) 2
HIGHLANDERS . . . . (1) 2
Brian Banda opened the account for Bosso a minute before the break with a spectacular volley from inside the penalty box, connecting a cross from an impressive Nigel Makumbe on the left in a move that also involved Gabriel Nyoni.
But it was Chicken Inn who had pressed Highlanders from the onset until their playmaker Clemence Matawu was neutralised in the centre by Adrian Silla.
They regrouped coming from the breather and within a minute, substitute King Nasama swung in a cross from the right, which landed on Matawu to deftly scoop over for Innocent Mucheneka to grab the equaliser for the GameCocks with another superb volley.
Highlanders regained their lead in the 62nd minute when Banda spotted Gabriel Nyoni on the run and the striker chested the ball in front of defender Passmore Bernard before he rifled home, sending the crowds into delirium.
But the GameCocks quickly restored parity again through Simon Munawa, who blocked a Charlton Siamalonga clearance into the nets in a defensive melee.
Both coaches said a draw was a fair result, although Joey Antipas felt his defender Devine Lunga was denied a penalty in the dying minutes of the game when he appeared to have been hacked down inside the box, but Hwange referee Mhaka Magare, instead, cautioned him for simulation.
“This was a very entertaining game. Both sides went for one another, which makes football a very exciting game. We struggled a bit in the first half, but came out guns blazing in the second half. I would like to recommend my boys for the fighting spirit, we were down twice and came back. And very importantly, we had a penalty. I don’t know why Highlanders are sacred cows. Nothing can go past them. But we get those decisions when referees are not bold enough to make those decisions. I thought we should have stolen the game at the death,” Antipas said.
His counterpart Madinda Ndlovu was happy with the result, saying his boys were on the right path, especially playing against an experienced outfit like Chicken Inn.
“Derbies as derbies, one would put it as the fairest result. We did almost everything we had prepared for, although a number of my players did not come to the party. We saw three brilliant goals today, Chicken Inn’s second was a present. This is the type of competition that we want for the region. If my boys can play like this against Chicken Inn, I am happy. It was a good test for them,” Ndlovu said.
Chicken Inn: E Chipezeze, P Bernard, D Lunga, K Chideu, M Jackson, S Munawa, C Samakweri (K Nasama 46’), C Matawu, X Ndlovu (O Chirinda 71’), I Mucheneka, O Tarumbwa (D Nyandoro 71’)
Highlanders: A Sibanda, M Phiri, H Moyo, C Siamalonga, P Muduhwa, A Silla, G Makaruse (N Sianchali 65’), B Banda (T Lunga 82’), O Zibande (B Musaka 65’), N Makumbe, G Nyoni