Ngezi Platinum Stars 1-0 Highlanders HIGHLANDERS yesterday lost to a fired up and tactically disciplined Ngezi Platinum in the semi-final of the Chibuku Super Cup at Barbourfields Stadium.
The defeat also ended Bosso’s dream of a league and cup double.
The final will now be an all platinum miners’ affair at a venue yet to be confirmed on November 5.
FC Platinum beat Harare City 3-0 in another semifinal played at Mandava Stadium in Zvishavane on Saturday.
Highlanders were condemned by a 62nd Liberty Chakoroma penalty after defender Peter Muduhwa had handled inside the box. It was the second penalty inside a week that Muduhwa conceded. He also gave away a needless penalty against Bulawayo City in a league match at the same venue last week.
“I think I have to talk to him about his game. He did not play well today,” said a disappointed Highlanders coach Erol Akbay.
The “home” side announced their intention as early as the 11th minute when Chakoroma forced a diving save from goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda. Bosso responded five minutes later through Gabriel Nyoni, who headed a brilliant in-swinger from man-of-the-moment Rahman Kutsanzira over the bar.
Kutsanzira won possession by the centre line, charged forward, riding two tackles before getting into the box and expertly swung the ball to Nyoni, whose header went off target.
Ngezi Platinum refused to be cowed into submission and executed their own attack in the 22nd minute through Nelson Ketala, who made a solo run from the left flank before delivering a cross that found an unmarked Kenneth Bulaji inside the 12-yard box, but the former Dynamos striker failed to compose himself, as he directed his effort over the bar.
Referee Normore Musundire flashed his first yellow card in the 26th minute in the face of Byron Madzokore after the centre-back punched Nyoni in an aerial ball tussle. As the first half ticked to the end, Highlanders enjoyed territorial advantage, but could not breach the Ngezi Platinum defence marshalled by the brilliant Partson Jaure. The first-half ended goalless. In the second half, Highlanders pulled out the injured Simon Munawa for King Nadolo, who, however, failed to change the complexion of the game despite few flashes of brilliance he showed.
Bulaji shook his head in disbelief in the 56th minute after his shot was taken care of by Ariel.
Two minutes later Tonderayi Ndiraya’s boys took the lead after a moment of madness by Muduhwa, who handled a harmless shot inside the box.
Bosso made a tactical substitution and changed their shape, pulling out right-back Tendai Ngulube for veteran forward Ralph Matema as they searched for the equaliser, which never came.
“I am over the moon; it’s not a usual case that one comes here and beats Highlanders. Today we were in control of the situation and I felt we could have scored three or four goals in the first half, all credit to the boys,” said Ndiraya.
Highlanders defender Peter Muduhwa and Ngezi Platinum’s Byron Madzokore go airborne for the ball at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday