BY TERRY MADYAUTA
HIGHLANDERS fans ran amok resulting in the abandonment of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League clash against FC Platinum at Mandava stadium.
The hosts, FC Platinum were awarded a penalty eight minutes before full time, much to the chagrin of the Highlander supporters, who went haywire, protesting the penalty, and invading the pitch with the intention of attacking match officials, Kuzivakwashe Jaravaza and Albinos Zigwati who were involved in the decision.
As a result the match was abandoned, but Highlanders are likely to be sanctioned by the Premier League (PSL) for the ugly scenes.
Police officers used tear-gas in a bid to disperse the marauding crowd.
The penalty was conceded on the 82th minute by Peter Muduhwa who at that point appeared to have been outpaced by Walter Musona just outside the box, before he pulled him down in the box.
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While the penalty decision looked genuine, the Highlanders supporters were infuriated as they went on to invade the pitch, baying for the referees blood while the Highlanders players also refused to resume play after the decision.
Nevertheless Highlanders came into this game with their tails up hoping to keep their momentum after winning the Uhuru Cup on Monday when they beat arch-rivals Dynamos at Barbourfields.
They started the match with more impetus compared to FC Platinum and they rightly grabbed the lead on the fifth minute courtesy of Divine Mhindirira from brilliant layup from Stanley Ngala.
But the lead was short-lived as the defending champions responded after 10 minutes, through Juan Mutudza with what was his first goal for the club.
From then on, FC Platinum dominated proceedings with Panashe Matimbanyoka and Innocent Mucheneka coming near just after the half-hour mark.
Highlanders missed several opportunities in the first half, but it was the hosts who were dominant. The second half was rather a cagey affair with both sides struggling to carve out as many chances.
The industrious Highlanders forward Washington Navaya almost added his name to the scoresheet on the 75 minute, when he got to the end of a Rahman Kutsanzira defense splitting pass, but his effort was saved by Petros Mhari.
On the other end, Thandolwenkosi Ngwenya came near on the 80th minute mark, with goalie Ariel Sibanda equal to the task.
That was followed by the penalty decision that culminated into the match being abandoned.