The Sunday Mail
From Ricky Zililo in SAPELE, Nigeria
Bayelsa United . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (0) 2
HOW Mine FC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
HOW Mine’s fairytale run in their maiden Orange Caf Confederation Cup came to a halt here after suffering a 2-0 defeat to Bayelsa United.
The Zimbabweans who came to Nigeria carrying a 2-1 lead and needing to avoid defeat to make it into the third round of the competition gave a good fight in their 2-3 aggregate loss.
The goldminers had managed to turn back pre-match frustrations directed on them to their opponents who resorted to assaulting How Mine players before restart.
It was goalless at the breather but the home side decided to vent out their frustrations by turning the soccer field into a boxing ring.
The police stood still as supporters and Bayelsa United officials descended on the visitors’ players with referees held up in their dressing room.
Defender Brighton Dube came out of the fracas with a cut above his left eye and had to play the second half with a bandage.
How Mine coach Philani Ncube felt that incident was the turning point for the game.
“Firstly I give credit to my players for doing their best under those circumstances. We started the game well but after my players were assaulted followed by the referee’s questionable decisions in the second half everything changed.
“Our game plan was to hold them and defend from the centre, restrict them to play the ball in their half and force them to take long-range shots. we also congested the midfield and tried getting them on counter but the referee frustrated us going forward continuously blowing the whistle for non offences,” Ncube said.
Bayelsa United got their first goal from Jafar Buhari on the hour mark and sealed the victory in the 80th minute on a break through Azubuike Okechukwu.
How Mine goalkeeper Ephraim Mazarura had during the game made two stunning saves first in the 35th minute when he went airborne to tip a volley taken in the crowded box. He was to be called into action 11 minutes before full-time denying Buhari from close range.
How Mine had an appeal for a penalty turned down in the 79th minute after Bayelsa United centre-back Gabriel Ikechukwu handled in the box but surprisingly the referee gave the visitors a free-kick from the edge of the box.
Dube was unlucky not to find the back of the net in the dying stages of the game with his effort cleared on goal line. Bayelsa United coach Richard Bubagha was ecstatic with the win.
“I am happy we worked hard for this result. They must not complain because they also played at home and won and there was no way that they would have won here. The good thing is that this victory gets us to the next stage.”
Bayelsa United: Gideon Gambo, Salomon Junior, Samuel Tswanya, Adegoke MutiuAzubuike Okechukwu, Dengo Ebinipere (Gabriel Ikechukwu, 55 mins), Bernard Okorowanta, Kokoriko Erepamo, Uche Uhuarulam (Agogu Ehitime,67 mins), Erick Frimpong (Oladapo Oluwafemi, 83 mins), Jafar Buhari
How Mine: Ephraim Mazarura, Gilbert Banda, Brighton Dube, Morris Kadzola, Nyasha Mukumbi, George Magariro (James Chitereki, 65 mins) Menard Mupera, Edmore Muzanenhamo (Emmanuel Mandiranga, 78 min)