CHICKEN INN . . . . . . 0
FC PLATINUM . . . . . 1(1)
THERE was drama at White City Stadium yesterday as Chicken Inn officials stormed the pitch during and after the match to confront referee Thomas Masaa, accusing him of biased officiating in a rescheduled Premier Soccer League match, which saw FC Platinum shoot to the top of the standings with a narrow win.
Winstone Mhango scored the all-important goal that gave the platinum miners the precious victory over 10-man Chicken Inn.
An irate Chicken Inn secretary Tavengwa Hara and treasurer Mlungisi Moyo charged towards Masaa as they felt their side, trailing 0-1, was denied a penalty in the 76th minute after an FC Platinum defender appeared to have handled inside the box.
Assistant referee Oscar Bume, with his flag up had already positioned himself for the spot-kick to be taken while Masaa eventually opted to give the GameCocks a free-kick outside the penalty box, resultantly wasted by striker Obadiah Tarumbwa.
Chicken Inn players mobbed Bume before an equally incensed coach Rahman Gumbo rushed-off to remonstrate against the referee’s decision.
The match was stopped for five minutes before Tarumbwa took the free-kick in the 81st minute, but that was not to be the end, with the Chicken Inn officials charging again at Masaa, who was under police protection at the end.
Hara refused to have Gumbo grant journalists interviews after the match.
“Go and interview whoever appoints the referees, my coach is not coming,” a furious Hara said.
It all started in the 69th minute, when Chicken Inn substitute Ben Nyahunzvi fouled FC Platinum’s Gerald Takwara and after the incident midfielder Tafadzwa Kutinyu was cautioned.
Gumbo was not happy with that decision and the referee had to approach the GameCocks bench to have a word with the coach before the match resumed and then a few minutes later the penalty appeal incident brought the match to a standstill.
But away from the disturbances, FC Platinum got the all-important goal from midfielder Mhango who tapped in the ball past Chicken Inn goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze from inside the penalty box.
Mhango was set up by Rodwell Chinyengetere following a string of brilliant exchanges by the visitors.
Chicken Inn anchorman Thabani Goredema was shown a red card for a second bookable offence by Masaa four minutes after the break.
Goredema had committed a professional foul on an attacking Marshal Mudehwe to get the second yellow card.
That goal shot FC Platinum to the top of the log-table once more, toppling Highlanders who have a game in hand to be played on Wednesday against Triangle at Barbourfields Stadium.
The platinum miners are now on 33 points from 15 games, with Highlanders on 30 from 14 matches.
But coach Norman Mapeza, who could not be drawn to comment on the match officiating, said it was not about being at the top, but focusing on the next matches and collecting maximum points.
“I am not concerned about being at the top, but how we are going to play our upcoming matches. The most important thing is to keep picking up maximum points,” Mapeza said.
CHICKEN INN: E Chipezeze, P Bernard, D Lunga, T Hadebe (P Madhazi 90+’), T Goredema (red card 49’), C Samakweri (I Lawe 59’), T Kutinyu, M Jackson, P Tafirenyika (B Nyahunzvi 53’), M Demera, O Tarumbwa
FC PLATINUM: P Mhari, I Nekati, G Bello, E Moyo, K Moyo, W Mhango, R Chinyengetere, G Takwara (N Masuku 86’), B Muzondiwa (W Musona 27’), T Rukanda (M Kawashu 83’), M Mudehwe
Highlanders v Triangle (Barbourfields), Tsholotsho v Mutare City Rovers (Luveve)