BULAWAYO – Highlanders coach Kelvin Kaindu bemoaned his side’s missed chances after the 1-1 draw with city rivals Chicken Inn at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday.
Kuda Mahachi was on target for Chicken Inn while Milton Ncube scored for Highlanders in an exciting first half.
“The positive thing is that today we managed to score from open play after a number of games that we played without scoring,” Kaindu said after the match.
“We missed a lot of chances and could have wrapped up the game in the first half and we just need to be composed in front of goal.”
Chicken Inn head coach Mandla Mpofu expressed satisfaction with the result.
“It was always going to be difficult to beat Highlanders for the second time after our victory in the previous game and I am happy that we managed to get a point today,” Mpofu said.
Both teams are now level on 31 points after Sunday’s stalemate.
The game kicked off at a blistering pace with both sides searching for an early opener.
Highlanders were the first to threaten when Mthulisi Maphosa hit the upright after two minutes and the rebound fell to Bhekimpilo Ncube, who took too long to shoot and allowed the Chicken Inn defence to clear.
Simon Munawa then stung Chicken Inn keeper Njabulo Nyoni from a free kick after Milton had been fouled just outside the penalty box.
The Gamecocks refused to be cowered by this early onslaught and Marshal Marima sent their first attack wide off an Mkhokheli Dube knock down.
The hosts then went ahead after six minutes when Mahachi opened the scoring off a Brian Mbiriri cross following a good build up from midfield.
Highlanders keeper Ariel Sibanda had to rush out of his goal area to thwart Chicken Inn linkman Canaan Nkomo a minute later as the Gamecocks smelt blood.
Action then continued to swing from one end to the other and Highlanders eventually equalised after 24 minutes through Milton Ncube.
This followed a build up that involved Bruce Tshuma and Maphosa.
Both sides had opportunities to add to their goals towards the break but failed to take their chances.
Action in the first half was pulsating and the tempo inevitably slowed down in the second half as fatigue took its toll on both sets of players.
Highlanders, who had finished the stronger side in the first half, began strongly in the second half and pinned their opponents to their own half.
Bosso went on to lose momentum when their technical team rung the changes after ten minutes in the second half.
Beaven Chikaka replaced the hard working Heritein Masuku on 56 minutes while Gabriel Nyoni came in for Njabulo Ncube on 64 minutes.
Bhekimpilo could have grabbed the winner for Highlanders on 68 minutes but he wasted a good chance after some good work by Maphosa.
Five minutes later it was Dube’s turn to waste a glorious opportunity for Chicken Inn when the experienced striker failed to direct his effort into a gaping goal off a Mahachi cross.