Highlanders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (0) 1
Dynamos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
(Match abandoned after 92 minutes)
THERE were disgraceful scenes in yesterday’s Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match between Highlanders and Dynamos at Barbourfields Stadium when rowdy fans invaded the pitch at different intervals, forcing the match to be abandoned.
Dynamos fans invaded the pitch in the 92nd minute after Highlanders had taken the lead when Washington Navaya nodded a cross home from close range.
DeMbare players mobbed the referee protesting that Shadreck Nyahwa was fouled in the process. The goal sparked wild celebrations among the home supporters who briefly invaded the pitch, with only two of the 13 added minutes having been played.
This angered Dynamos fans at the Mpilo End and they stormed the pitch and tore down the goal nets and attempted to uproot the goalposts.
With the players taking refuge in the tunnel, the rowdy fans pelted council workers that wanted to replace the torn nets so play could resume, resulting in the match officials calling off the game, with Highlanders leading 1-0.
Bosso supporters were the first to throw missiles onto the pitch in the 68th minute when young Dynamos striker Bill Antonio broke central defender Andrew Tandi’s ankle with a crude tackle.
Antonio saw red for his tackle and play was halted for 13 minutes as medics attended to Tandi on the pitch.
Match commissioner Edson Nkau confirmed calling off the match.
“It was no longer conducive to continue with the match,” said Nkau.
As Bosso fans went back to the stands, Dynamos’ central defender Frank Makarati manhandled the referee, attempting to punch assistant referee Melody Ncube, who fled as the mob invaded the pitch.
The match officials were eventually escorted to the dressing rooms by bouncers.
Highlanders had earlier failed to use their numerical advantage due to rush decisions by their strikers.
In the 80th minute, Lynoth Chikuhwa received a pass from Godfrey Makaruse, turned inside the box but shot off target.
Bosso threw everything into the game, but Dynamos were resolute in defence.
In the 85th minute, Dynamos won a free-kick outside the box and Bosso supporters held their breath, as Godknows Murwira couldn’t beat the wall.
As play swung to Dynamos’ end, Highlanders hurried their attacks, which were easily thwarted.
The match had all the facets of a big game, with psychological warfare between Highlanders and Dynamos marshals before kickoff.
The fans came in their numbers, with the vociferous home supporters dwarfing the visitors’ chants as the match progressed.
DeMbare wanted to catch Bosso on quick breaks, but their strikers failed to remain onside on most occasions.
Unlike Dynamos, who exhibited flashes of quick breaks, Highlanders were slow in launching attacks in spite of dominating possession.
Chikuhwa headed defender Peter Muduhwa’s delivery over the bar in the 27th minute when he could have done better.
A minute later, Dynamos’ King Nadolo was shown a yellow card for dissent.
With Bosso dominating possession, DeMbare fans were unusually quiet, while the home fans were in full voice.
Highlanders’ coach Mandla Mpofu never took his seat from kick-off, while Dynamos’ coach Tonderayi Ndiraya and Gift Muzadzi took turns to bark instructions.
Seeing that Bosso were strong in central midfield where Nqobizitha Masuku, Mhindirira and Rahman Kutsanzira dominated, Ndiraya pushed Nadolo onto the right side and Nyahwa in central midfield, while Antonio switched to the left wing.
Bosso took charge of the game in the second-half with superb build-ups and a section of Dynamos supporters demanded that Ndiraya make substitutions.
Ndiraya responded with a double substitution, taking out Nadolo for Evans Katema and hauling out Alex Orotomol for Emmanuel Paga in the 57th minute.
That move ejected Dynamos supporters from their seats for a second as they came to life reminding many that they were in attendance. To see Dynamos fans cheering substitutions was a sad reminder that their team played well below par.
What infuriated Dynamos’ fans was that their side hardly troubled Bosso goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda throughout the match.
Although the game was abandoned, it came as a relief for Bosso coach Mpofu, who was under pressure to win following five consecutive draws.
Dynamos surrendered top spot to Chicken Inn, who beat Caps United 1-0, to gain a one-point advantage.
Highlanders: Ariel Sibanda, Andrew Mbeba, Mbongeni Ndlovu, Andrew Tandi (Washington Navaya, 77th minute), Peter Muduhwa, Nqobizitha Masuku, Godfrey Makaruse, Devine Mhindirira, Lynoth Chikuhwa, Stanley Ngala, Rahman Kutsanzira
Dynamos: Taimon Mvula, Emmanuel Jalai, Godknows Murwira, Frank Makarati, Partson Jaure, Sylvester Appiah, Keith Murera, Bill Antonio, King Nadolo (Evans Katema, 57th minute) Alex Orotomol (Emmanuel Paga, 57th minute), Shadreck Nyahwa