Regarded by many as the contest which would prove that local football is still exciting, the ‘Battle of Zimbabwe’ failed to live up to expectations as old foes Dynamos and Highlanders played out a disappointing goalless draw at the National Sports Stadium yesterday.
Pre-match talk was dominated by suggestions that DeMbare and Bosso, the two biggest teams in the country, would prove to the football-loving public that there is still some life left in top-flight football after all.
A bumper crowd was even expected, as evidenced by the Premier Soccer League (PSL)’s move to reinforce security for the clash, which has been marred by crowd trouble of late.
In the end, less than 2000 fans were at the giant facility and the eagerly-awaited clash had very little in terms of entertainment and goal mouth action.
DeMbare’s King Nadolo came the closest to breaking the deadlock when his well-taken shot hit the underside of the crossbar in the second half.
Uncharacteristically, Ndiraya had gone for a more attacking line up, with Tinashe Makanda leading the search for goals while Issa Sadiki operated on the right flank.
In the end, Ndiraya admited the game lacked flare but reckoned a draw was a fair result.
“It was a balanced affair with little goal mouth action, which is very common with these big games,” Ndiraya told the media after the game.
“Players tend to really not express themselves in the manner that they should be, we expected it to be like that.
“The teams were little bit hesitant and they were not going at each other as you would expect in these kind of games with the excitement from the terraces. You would think that they (the fans) would spur on the players.
Added Ndiraya: “The game was a little flat to be honest but at the end, a draw was a fair result.
Ndiraya’s Highlanders counterpart Baltemar Brito also felt both teams did not express themselves enough.
“In my opinion, it was a good game. It was too tactical as both teams tried to close up the spaces,” the Portuguese said after the game.
“Not too many opportunities but it was a good game in my opinion and I’m happy with the performance of the boys,” added Brito.
Picture: Knowledge Chingwecha