Innocent Kurira, Sports Reporter
Highlanders 1-1 Ngezi Platinum Stars
DEFENDER Peter Muduhwa’s name was chanted by multitudes of Bosso fans yesterday after his robust performance helped salvage a point for Bosso in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
With chief striker Prince Dube on national duty, Bosso needed a new hero and Muduhwa stepped up to the challenge.
The hosts found themselves trailing in the 34th minute of the game after striker Donald Teguru capitalised on a blunder by right-back McClive Phiri to slot home with ease.
Phiri, who was facing his own goal inside the box, teed up Teguru after failing to control. Goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda had come off his line to collect the ball, but didn’t shout at Phiri to leave it for him, leaving Teguru with the simplest task of pushing it into the net.
Bosso equalised 10 minutes before full time through keeper Sibanda from a spot-kick.
Muduhwa, who had been switched from central defence to centre-forward to partner Tinashe Makanda, inspired the comeback.
Collecting a pass from midfield, Muduhwa exhibited great composure to hold onto the ball under tight guard from Ngezi defenders and still managed to feed Makanda inside the box.
With Makanda through on goal, he was hacked down by Frank Makarati and referee Allan Bhasvi pointed to the spot and Sibanda converted.
The defender later forced a match-defining save from Ngezi keeper Nelson Chadya, who parried his powerful header out for a corner on the stroke of fulltime.
The draw stretched Bosso’s unbeaten run in the league to 10 games and their Dutch coach Hendrik Pieter De Jongh is yet to taste defeat since he took charge of the dugout.
They are now eighth with 41 points from 30 games.
Highlanders had had a bright start until it started raining. The match was stopped briefly as fans scurried to the grandstand encroaching onto the field of play after the heavens opened and a strong downpour lashed Barbourfields.
Ngezi who have been criticised for watering their pitch at Baobab Stadium just before home games kick-off, took advantage of the situation.
With Bosso players clearly struggling to adapt to the wet conditions, the visitors took control of proceedings and enjoyed a good spell.
Tendai Ndlovu, who played in place of the suspended Andrew Mbeba, had a nightmare return to first team football as he was jittery all afternoon and fans continuously called for his substitution.
“It was a difficult game. l feel the brief break in the first-half affected us. We had started well but our performance dropped after the break. l told my technical team that this will affect us negatively and that was what happened,” said De Jongh.
Ngezi coach Rodwell Dhlakama rued his side’s missed chances.
“For starters it was a very good game. My boys showed character to come up with a draw. It is not easy to come to Barbourfields Stadium and come out with a draw. l feel a bit hard done by the penalty call, which l felt was soft, but we have another game on Saturday, so we have to pick ourselves up and move on.
“We could have wrapped up this game before they got that penalty but we wasted a number of opportunities,” said Dhlakama.
Highlanders: Ariel Sibanda, McClive Phiri, Adrian Silla (Bukhosi Sibanda 90th min), Brian Banda, Nqobizitha Masuku, Godfrey Makaruse, Tendai Ndlovu, Peter Muduhwa, Mbongeni Ndlovu, Tinashe Makanda, Denzel Khumalo (Cleopas Kapupurika 45th min)
Ngezi Platinum Stars: Nelson Chadya, Qadr Amini, Gerald Takwara, Polite Moyo, Frank Makarati, Tatenda Mchisa (Ariel Makopa 51st min), James Nguluve, (Mandlenkosi Mlilo 70th min), Nielson Ketala, Malon Mushonga, Donald Teguru (Kenneth Bulaji 71st min), Keith Murera. — @innocentskizoe.