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ALLEN Gahadzikwa’s brace and Michelle Katsvairo’s goal sent FC Platinum into the Commander Zimbabwe National Army Charity Cup final after they defeated a depleted Highlanders at Barbourfields yesterday. Pride was at stake as both sides clashed for the fourth time this year, twice in Cup games and the other a pre-season friendly, with FC Platinum dominating the tie.

Gahadzikwa made a grand return from injury banging the opener in the 39th minute.

The goal came after a good build-up which saw Thabani Kamusoko switching the ball to the left to find an unmarked Katsvairo who sent an inviting cross that was nodded home by Gahadzikwa.

Highlanders had a scrappy first half with the likes of Valentine Ndaba, Graciano Chakafana, Khumbulani Banda and Mgcini Sibanda failing to justify their inclusion.

The home crowd could not hide their frustration as the team failed to click.

Highlanders’ coach Kelvin Kaindu reacted swiftly with a double substitution in the 46th minute withdrawing youngsters Chakafana, who suffered a torrid first half against Donald Ngoma, and Mgcini Sibanda who failed to stand the heat upfront.

Chikafana made way for Erick Mudzingwa while Sibanda was replaced by Ozias Zibande.

Just five minutes after his introduction Zibande had a chance to equalise for Bosso after being put through by Knox Mutizwa but he sent the ball into the stands.

The black and white army continued to raid the platinum miners’ 18-yard area but ‘keeper Petros Mhari was well protected.

Highlanders defenders were caught napping and punished by Gahadzikwa in the 58th minute who sealed his brace after connecting a cross from Ngoma on the left flank where he was unmarked by Khumbulani Banda.

Two minutes later Bosso bounced back with Zibande beating Mhari with a header to bring Highlanders back into the game.

Bosso continued their attack with Charles Sibanda dictating the tempo in the middle of the park.

Njabulo Ncube did not make any impression against his former paymasters.

Bosso brought in Bruce Kangwa for Cleopas Dube in the 67th minute, moving Valentine Ndaba into the middle while Charles was pushed forward.

Ncube was eventually taken out for Tarisai Rukanda in the 74th minute as they continued to search for the third goal.

Katsvairo finally converted his impressive form into a goal in the 84th minute after finishing off a Kamusoko cross to end this game as a contest.

Bosso fans could not bear the pain of the defeat and a good number left the stadium before the end of the match.

Eric Mudzingwa managed to pull one back in the 88th minute, though it was too little, too late, with a well curled free-kick after Kangwa was brought down outside the box.

Highlanders’ assistant coach Mark Mathe said his side played badly.

“We played in patches especially in the first half we did badly,” said Mathe.

FC Platinum coach Lloyd Mutasa said this was an improved performance for his side.

“It was an improvement coming from a loss against Buffaloes to win against Highlanders at Barbourfields, we have had good results in cup games here so we want to continue the same trend,” he said.

FC Platinum knocked Highlanders out of the Independence Cup 7-6 on penalties.

Mutasa praised Gahadzikwa for his grand return with two goals yesterday.

“It’s good for him to return and manage to grab goals, it will boost his confidence and even for the team, in general, scoring three goals was good considering that we are playing Dynamos next,” said Mutasa.

Teams

Highlanders: N. Nyoni, G. Chakafana (E. Mudzingwa 46th min), K. Banda, D. Ndlovu, F. Chindungwe, H. Madziwanyika, K. Mutizwa, C. Sibanda, M. Sibanda (O. Zibande 46th min), C. Dube (B. Kangwa 67th min), V. Ndaba

FC Platinum: P. Mhari, A. Qadr, T. Kamusoko, S. Shoko, N. Ncube (T. Rukanda 74th min), J. Marufu, A. Gahadzikwa, S. Sibanda, M. Katsvairo, G. Bello, D. Ngoma (R. Sibanda 59th min)

Source : The Herald

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