Matches between Dynamos and Highlanders are never friendly encounters, no matter what is at stake. And the historical Independence Trophy final at Mt darwin High School grounds here yesterday was no exception.
A bruising battle that saw one red card, just like the previous edition, and five yellow cards flashed in a match that spiced up the 43rd edition of the country’s Independence anniversary.
Even Highlanders coach Baltemar Brito escaped expulsion under shocking circumstances after violently shoving Dynamos midfielder Junior Makunike to the ground.
The two teams squared off in a rural set-up for the first time in history and the over 20 000 fans who packed the arena were treated to some exciting football.
At the end it was Bosso who walked out victors following this penalty shoot-out win despite playing for more than 50 minutes a man short after defender Andrew Mbeba saw red.
That means, for the second year running, the Bulawayo giants beat their Harare rivals in the same match to claim the bragging rights.
Dynamos’ Ghanaian forward Emmanuel Paga was the villain of the shoot-out lottery after missing his kick from the spot.
For some reason, Paga decided to be stylish and in the process dispatched a horrible take that hung in the air before Bosso goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda collected comfortably.
That was the turning point in the lottery and Bosso fully capitalised with all their five takers finding the back of the net.
It was painful for the Glamour Boys, who played for 55 minutes with an extra man following the ejection of Mbeba.
The latter lost his head five minutes past the half hour mark, launching an unprovoked taekwondo kick on Nyasha Chintuli, and referee Lawrence Zimondi flashed a straight red.
With a numerical urge, Dynamos started to dominate proceedings but they couldn’t breach the Bosso defensive wall which was marshalled by Peter Muduhwa.
Whatever the two coaches, Herbert Maruwa for Dynamos and Bosso’s Brito told their players at half time, it was evident the latter had outfoxed his opposite number.
Although Dynamos camped in Bosso’s half for most of the second half, the raids at Ariel Sibanda’s goal were far from effective.
At one point, Maruwa had all his best strikers, Jayden Bakare, Eli Illunga and Nyasha Chintuli on the pitch but they lacked the cutting edge.
In fact, Dynamos sniffed at goal just three times all afternoon including an offside goal deep into the second half.
Maruwa was disappointed with the manner in which his team failed to beat their man-short opponents.
“We really wanted to win this trophy. It’s a day when the whole country is celebrating and we also needed to make our fans celebrate even more.
“It was a chance for me and my new team to lay our hands on our first trophy but it wasn’t to be,” said Maruwa.
“It was a match that we could have won with a bit of conviction. They were a man short and we needed to pile pressure on them. We tried but failed to score the goal which could have made the difference. I am very disappointed.
“It was a good game of football here in Mt Darwin. The people enjoyed watching these two giants trade blows.
“But the disappointing thing is that we failed to win. Our fans wanted us to win and we failed. It’s hurting but football is always like that.”
His opposite number Brito hailed his charges for their never-say-die spirit.
“Our game-plan worked. We had a red card and we had to hold on for the whole match,” said Brito.
“I want to salute my team. The players did well and I am happy we won the trophy.” Mbeba, who had thought he had cost the team after getting his marching orders in the opening half, shed tears of joy after the final whistle.
Highlanders: Ariel Sibanda, Lynoth Chikuhwa (McKinnon Mushore 84min), Brighton Manhire, Godfrey Makaruse, Andrew Mbeba, Mason Mushore, Peter Maduhwa, Stanley Ngala (Washington Navaya 70min), Darlington Mukuli, Mbongeni Ndlovu, Melikhaya Ncube
Dynamos: Taimon Mvula, Elvis Moyo, Kevin Moyo, Keith Madera (Tendai Matindife 48min) Donald Dzvinyai, Junior Makunike, Emmanuel Jalai, Emmanuel Ziocha (Arthur Musiyiwa 78min) Jayden Bakare (Emmanuel Paga 60min), Nyasha Chintuli (Tinashe Makanda 76min) Tanaka Shandirwa (Eli Ilunga 48min)