HARARE City came from behind to earn a point against Bulawayo City at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday in a match where both sides wasted good scoring chances.
BY HENRY MHARA in bulawayo
Bulawayo City……….. (1) 1
Harare City…………….. (0) 1
Ayanda Ncube scored the home side’s goal in the 11th minute with a simple tap-in from a rebound after goalkeeper Ryan Harrison had blocked a Timothy January shot.
However, Harare City substitute Kuda Musharu, with his first touch of the ball after coming in for the wasteful Wilfred Muvirimi, cancelled the effort in the 62nd minute, his flashing header from a Tatenda Tumba sneaking in between goalkeeper Kelvin Nyoni and the near post.
It was a match that the hosts should have buried in the first half had they utilised the chances they created.
Bulawayo City would also be happy to come out with a draw after playing second fiddle the entire second half against a much-improved Harare City, who also failed to put away a number of chances that they created.
Harare City coach Mark Harrison was not happy with the way his team applied themselves in the first half.
“Our performance in the first half was inept, we were flat. There was no enthusiasm, no drive, no desire. Yes, we moved the ball around, but with no purpose,” he said.
“Everything that you can think of was wrong in the first half. We had a few words at half-time, and we had a response in the second half.
“The team showed a little more desire to go and get a goal. Overall, I think a draw is a fair result when looking at the two halves. In the first half we had nothing to offer, but in the seocnd half we were the better team by far.”
Bulawayo City coach Amini Soma-Phiri concurred with the assessment of the match by his opposite yesterday. However, he could find himself in trouble with the Premier Soccer League after he made another scathing attack on match referees.
This was the second time he had a go at the match officials after his outbursts last week.
The hosts had an ideal start to the match when Ncube passed the ball into the nets after Harrison’s block from a Timothy January snap shot had dropped onto his feet.
The visitors controlled possession with their short passing game, but they never really troubled Nyoni.
It was the Bulawayo side that created chances, mostly from counter-attacks, and could have doubled their lead, but January’s volley on the run from a cross by the galloping Innocent Kutsanzira flew over.
Muvirimi wasted his team’s best chance, right at the death of the first half, when he failed to control a Tumba pass with acres of space around him inside the penalty box.
Harrison’s men had to react in the second half, and the intention was clear when the match restarted.
Nyoni was forced into a double save early on, denying William Manondo and new man Ishmael Wadi, given a start against his former team.
Muvirimi was put through moments later, but shot straight at the goalkeeper, and it was his last action in the match as he was substituted for Musharu.
The veteran striker made an instant impact. A diagonal pass from substitute Tellmore Pio, who made an impressive debut for Harare City yesterday, found Tumba at the edge of the box, who beat his marker cleanly and his gorgeous cross was headed home at the near post by Musharu for the equaliser.
Inevitably, the match opened up as the two teams searched for a winner in the remaining minutes, but as Harrison said, a draw was probably the fair result.