Chicken Inn stun Highlanders

BULAWAYO - Chicken Inn won their first top-flight match against Highlanders since their entry into the Castle Premiership with a smash and grab 1-0 win in a Bulawayo derby at Barbourfields Stadium Wednesday.

The hosts dominating most of the match but paid for their failure to convert their dominance into goals when Kuda Mahachi scored against the run of play and the Gamecocks went on to register a memorable victory.

Chicken Inn head coach Mandla "Lulu" Mpofu was ecstatic after his team's win.

"We can now be counted as one of the big boys after this historic victory," Mpofu said.

"It was a job well done by the boys and as long as we can collect maximum points from the big boys then we will achieve our objective of maintaining our position in the top four."

Highlanders took the game to Chicken Inn from the first whistle with some great build up play but their efforts came to nothing as they lacked the final pass.

And on occasions when they created openings they found Chicken Inn goalie Njabulo Nyoni equal to the task with the former Zimbabwe Saints and Highlanders shot stopper keeping out efforts by Peter Rio Moyo, Mthulisi Maphosa and Heritein Masuku.

Chicken Inn were restricted to taking long range efforts as Highlanders kept them pinned to their own half until Mahachi struck on 31 minutes.

Highlanders anchorman Hillary Madzivanyika lost possession in midfield and the ball was picked up by Gamecocks linkman Brian Juru, who released his centre striker Tendai Ndoro.

But the country's leading goal scorer took too long to shoot and was dispossessed by the Bosso defence. The clearance was not an emphatic one though and after some tussles the ball eventually fell to Mahachi who was lurking at the edge of penalty box and he slotted it beyond

Highlanders keeper Ariel Sibanda for the all-important goal.

That goal took the stuffing out of Highlanders and the game became evenly balanced.

Moyo could have leveled matters for Highlanders in first half optional time but he shot over the bar after another good build up by the hosts.

After the break Highlanders tried to find the equaliser but were let down by their failure to make a follow up on their initial efforts.

Mahachi could have made the game safe for Chicken Inn on 70 minutes but he shot wide with Bosso keeper Sibanda at his mercy after a quick counter attack by the visitors.

Nyoni went on to break the hearts of Highlanders followers when he tipped over an Ozias Zibande header with two minutes left on the clock.

The evergreen Bruce Kangwa had supplied the cross.

Yet another chance to at least salvage a point for the log leaders fell to Milton Ncube on 92 minutes but the Bosso player volleyed his effort way over the bar.

Highlanders coach Kelvin Kaindu singled out Chicken Inn keeper Nyoni as the player who made the difference between the two teams by denying his strikers throughout the entire match.

"Football is won by scoring goals and we failed to find the target mostly because their keeper kept them in the game by denying us at every opportunity," Kaindu said.

The Gamecocks are now on 26 points after the victory. - Sakheleni Nxumalo

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