Highlanders 2-3 Chicken Inn
CHICKEN Inn FC striker Obriel Chirinda inspired his team to a well-deserved victory over Highlanders in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League Bulawayo derby at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
The five-goal thriller was worth every penny for the approximately 7 000 fans that paid their way into the stadium.
Chicken Inn controlled the first half during which they scored three well worked goals, while Highlanders came from the break a more determined side to hit back twice.
King Nasama fired the Gamecocks into the lead two minutes into the game after getting to the end of a clever defence splitting pass from the lively Chirinda, who was elusive for Bosso defenders all afternoon.
Chirinda was again the architect of Chicken Inn’s 32nd minute goal when he went on a mazy run in the box, confusing Bosso defenders and forcing Highlanders’ goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda to come off his line to block the striker’s attempt for a corner. Captain Moses Jackson scored from the resultant corner through a free header from George Majika’s delivery.
Chirinda, the Castle Lager PSL player of the month for July, capped a fine first half performance with a 42nd minute goal. The pint-sized forward worked his way past four Bosso defenders before squeezing his shot past a diving Sibanda.
That goal all but assured the Gamecocks of maximum points, as they closed the gap between themselves and leaders FC Platinum to eight points. Chicken Inn are third on the table with 44 points from 23 games.
Highlanders were more organised and determined in the second half, as they pinned Chicken Inn in their own half. Their persistency paid off on the stroke of the hour when midfielder Adrian Silla scored from the penalty spot by sending goalkeeper Pride Zendera the wrong way. Zendera had conceded the penalty after felling Newman Sianchali in the box.
Silla had shocked fans in the 21st minute by missing a yawning goal following a good move involving new boy Tafadzwa Sibanda and Gabriel Nyoni.
Nyoni’s beautifully threaded pass took Zendera out of position, but Silla shot into the terraces when a tap in looked easier.
The overlapping right-back sent a cross into the box which Sianchali headed back to Nyoni, who beat his marker to head past Zendera.
Bosso piled pressure on Chicken Inn, but the Gamecocks held on to their lead.
“Both teams put up a thrilling game. It was good for the spectators. We played the best football this season in the first half, but in football it’s dangerous to underrate your opponents after a 3-nil lead and I implored the players that the game is not yet over. These guys were going to come back fighting, which they did. We then had a nervy finish, but I’m happy that we held on to get three points,” said Joey Antipas, the Chicken Inn coach.
Highlanders’ coach Madinda Ndlovu acknowledged Chicken Inn’s good performance and blamed a “cheap” early goal for “dismantling” their system.
“We conceded three goals in the first half because of the confusion and probably surprise caused by the early goal. But I think to a certain extent, today we were let down by most senior players.
“I expect senior players to take the leading role in games such as this one. I expect the senior players to apply the basics in terms of attacking and defending. I expected senior players to track the tall guys for the second goal that was scored from a corner kick because Chicken Inn have good headers.
“We gave it our all in the second half and credit goes to the boys because they knew that they had to come back and play for the crowd. They had to come back and put up a fight so that we reduce the deficit,” Ndlovu said.
Highlanders: Ariel Sibanda, McClive Phiri, Honest Moyo, Charlton Siamalonga, Peter Muduhwa, Adrian Silla, Gabriel Nyoni, Ben Musaka (Brian Banda, 51st minute), Tafadzwa Sibanda, Nigel Makumbe, Newman Sianchali
Chicken Inn: Pride Zendera, Passmore Bernard, Ben Nyahunzvi, Moses Jackson, Moses Jackson, Simon Munawa, Clemence Matawu (Joe Nyabinde, 87th minute), Innocent Mucheneka, Obriel Chirinda, King Nasama (Obidiah Tarumbwa, 81st minute), George Majika (Wellington Kamudyariwa, 62nd minute)
Wednesday: Harare City 1-0 FC Platinum, Bulawayo Chiefs 3-2 Mutare City Rovers, Chapungu 1-0 Black Rhinos, Yadah 0-0 Dynamos, ZPC Kariba 1-1 Nuchrut, Ngezi Platinum Stars 5-1 Shabanie Mine, Bulawayo City 0-1 Herentals
Yesterday: Caps United 0-2 Triangle United, Highlanders 2-3 Chicken Inn