BULAWAYO – Defending champions Dynamos recovered from a two goal disadvantage to draw 2-2 with hosts Chicken Inn in a Castle Premiership encounter that they played under protest at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday.
The Glamour Boys handed match commissioner Ndumiso Gumede a letter of protest before the match complaining about the appointment of Hardly Ndazi to handle the match.
AIR BOURNE: Dynamos captain Tawanda Muparati controls the ball under the challenge of Danny Phiri of Chicken Inn during Sunday’s match at Barbourfields Stadium. Picture: Auntony Zinyange
Interestingly, Gumede was also cited in the letter in which the Zifa Vice President was accused of having a hand in the appointment of match officials.
Dynamos felt that this was tantamount to match fixing and therefore decided to play the match under protest.
This mentality could have affected the Harare giants as they quickly fell behind to two quick fire goals from Tendai Ndoro and Brian Mbiriri in the first quarter of the match.
It took the introduction of Cliff Sekete for Milton Makopa on 20 minutes to bring about a Dynamos revival that resulted in Tawanda Muparati pulling one back before the half hour mark.
Super substitute Sekete then levelled matters for Dynamos early in the second half and with a bit of luck the visitors could have gone on to win the game but the hosts managed to hold on for a draw.
Dynamos are now on 51 points and trail new log leaders Harare City by two points.
Chicken Inn increased their points tally to 44 and they are in position six on the log.
After the match the Dynamos head coach Calisto Pasuwa said his team would fight to the bitter end to defend the league title.
"We lacked concentration during the early stages of the game but fortunately we managed to come back and equalise. We are going to fight until the last day to defend our title," Pasuwa.
Hosts Chicken Inn got off to a flyer when the country's leading scorer Ndoro grabbed his 18th Premiership goal in the first minute of the match after exchanging passes with Mkhokheli Dube to finish off a move that was initiated by Clemence Matawu.
Mbiriri added to the Gamecocks tally on 13 minutes from a free kick with an effort that exposed Dynamos keeper George Chigova's shortcomings when it comes to grounders.
The set piece was given after referee Hardly Ndazi ruled that Dynamos defender Partson Jaure had fouled Ndoro and Mbiriri's grass cutter snuck under a diving Chigova's armpit for the Gamecocks' second goal.
Ndoro could have made the game safe for the home side but shot wayward with Chigova at his mercy after robbing Jaure of the ball on 18 minutes.
Smelling trouble, Pasuwa brought on Sekete for the ineffective Makopa and this switch brought about a change for the better in Dynamos' play.
And the hosts then seemed to panic and abandoned the sleek passing game they had exhibited in the early stages of the game.
It was no surprise therefore when Muparati eventually pulled one back for Dynamos on 26 minutes with a well taken free kick from outside the penalty box.
The two teams could have gone to the break on level terms but Sekete headed a cross by Thomas Magorimbo wide after ghosting in from the blind side a couple minutes before half time.
Sekete did manage to get his name on the score sheet nine minutes into the second half when he finished off a cross from Simba Sithole.
Dynamos went on to bombard the Chicken Inn goal mouth in search of the winner but without any success.
Their best chances fell for second half substitute Patrick Khumbula and Muparati but both players found Chicken Inn keeper Liberty Chirava equal to the task as he managed to keep out their efforts.
The result means Chicken Inn coach Joey Antipas remains unbeaten after taking over from Mandla Mpofu and after the match the former Motor Action man hailed his charges for a good performance.
Dynamos will go into their last match of the season against Black Mambas without defender Oscar Machapa, who was red carded after the game for using foul language towards the match officials.