Highlanders end 2015 in style

BULAWAYO - Chicken Inn coach Joey Antipas felt his charges were denied a league and cup double by a wrong decision from match officials following defeat to Highlanders in the NetOne Easycall Cup final here yesterday.

The Gamecocks succumbed to a 40th minute Ralph Matema penalty kick after reigning Soccer Star of the Year Danny Phiri was adjudged by referee Brighton Chimene to have hacked down left-back Honest Moyo inside the box.

But Antipas who led the Gamecocks to their maiden championship last month insisted that there was no contact between the two players which warranted a spot kick.

“Naturally I’m disappointed for not winning the double,” Antipas said after the match.

“I have looked at the replays on television and there was no contact to talk about. Definitely that should never have been a penalty.

“But such things happen in football. I also think we did not step up after trailing. We were not creative enough but I must give credit to the boys for getting this far.”

Antipas’ counterpart Cosmas Zulu praised his charges for a job well-done while dedicating the trophy as an early Christmas present to the Highlanders supporters.

“We are very happy to win the cup. It means a lot to us as Highlanders,” Zulu said.

“We thought we must give an early Christmas present to our supporters. They have been behind us through thick and thin.

“They are our 12th man and together we have achieved success. Our game plan worked and we are very happy.”

Chicken Inn were generally the better side of the two and dominated the proceedings especially in the first half where Clemence Matawu, Tafadzwa Kutinyu and Phiri boasted the midfield.

They, however, struggled in the final third where Edmore Chirambadare and Michelle Katsvairo did little to trouble Bosso goalie Ariel Sibanda.

Bosso, backed by their noisy fans slowly clawed back into the game with King Nadolo, who started ahead of Valentine Ndaba, showing some flushes of brilliance while Knox Mutizwa kept the Gamecocks defence on their toes.

Bosso were awarded a penalty five minutes from half time after Phiri was adjudged to have hacked down Moyo inside the box.

Matema sent reigning Goalkeeper of the Year Elvis Chipezeze the wrong way from the resultant spot kick.

The second half saw little goal-mouth action with Mutizwa coming close in the dying minutes but was denied by Chipezeze.

For their efforts Highlanders pocketed $80 000 while Chicken Inn went home $50 000 richer.

Teams:

Highlanders: Ariel Sibanda, Simon Munawa, Rahman Kutsanzira, King Nadolo, Bruce Kangwa, Teenage Hadebe, Knox Mutizwa, Tendai Ngulube, Honest Moyo, Ralph Matema, Julius Daudi

Chicken Inn: Elvis Chipezeze, Passmore Bernard, Devine Lungu, Lawrence Mhlanga, Ben Nyahunzvi, Danny Phiri, Tafadzwa Kutinyu, Clemence Matawu, George Majika, Mitchell Katsvairo, Edmore Chirambadare

 

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