SHEER individual brilliance by Ishmael Wadi powered Bulawayo City into the semi-finals of the Chibuku Super Cup at the expense of Yadah FC in a match played at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
Wadi, on loan from FC Platinum scored a brilliant 84th minute goal when he broke just after the centre, beat Yadah’s central defenders Byron Madzokore and Dennis Dauda before chipping the ball past an advancing goalkeeper Samuel Mafukidze.
It was a painful goal to concede for Yadah who created more scoring opportunities than Bulawayo City but fluffed them, with Moses Demera the chief culprit.
Mandla Mpofu, Bulawayo City’s coach heaped praises on his charges for coming out of their shell in the second half having started the match sluggish as the visitors enjoyed lots of possession in the first stanza.
Bulawayo City join How Mine and Harare City who qualified for the last four on Saturday as well as Shabanie Mine whose match against Caps United was abandoned in the second half after assistant referee Thomas Kusosa was allegedly assaulted in yesterday’s game at Maglas Stadium.
“Everyone is happy that we’re through to the next stage. This was a tricky encounter but we managed to play from the back with confidence and came back from halftime a more determined side. The guys fought really well and I’m happy for them.
“That brilliant goal by Wadi was just awesome. Today I gave him freedom to look for spaces to attack and he paid that by producing a magical moment,” said Mpofu.
The Bulawayo City coach said they will not be celebrating the Yadah win for long as his charges will now switch focus to getting out of the relegation zone in the league.
They are on position 12 on the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League table with 32 points, two points ahead of Shabanie Mine who occupy the last relegation slot.
Bulawayo City made a number of changes to the squad, with Andrew Tandi playing at right back as Morris Kadzola was moved to central midfield where he exerted himself well. Zephaniah Ngodzo was assigned to leftback position in the absence of Munyaradzi Mungadze and Humphrey Ncube was given a rare start in the midfield, coming in for injured Innocent Kutsanzira.
Kutsanzira’s absence was felt as Yadah dominated the midfield and created chances for Demera who blew them away.
The best scoring opportunity for Yadah fell to Demera a minute before halftime when he got to the end of a perfect delivery from Johannes Sibanda but raised his boot wide and shot over the bar with Bulawayo City goalkeeper Ndodana Sibanda to beat.
Yadah kept probing their opponents in the second half with Johannes taking a weak shot at goal following a good build-up in the 54th minute while captain Jimmy Dzingai headed wide three minutes later.
Wadi, full of running the whole afternoon beat four Yadah players in the 66th minute but his shot at goal was easily dealt with by Mafukidze.
Demera’s indecision in the box saw him wasting scoring opportunities in the 72nd minute and 81st minute after being fed by Rodreck Mutuma.
Wadi then punished Yadah for being wasteful with a beautiful goal in the 84th minute.
Newman Sianchali was unlucky not to get his name on the score sheet and kill the game for Bulawayo City in added time when his effort crashed onto the cross bar.
Yadah coach Thomas Ruzive said: “We played very well but in football if you don’t score you get punished. Our strikers went to sleep especially in the first half.”
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