Eswatini Daily News
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Green Mamba on top as Match officials whisked away in Buffaloes, Highlanders draw

By Lwazi Dlamini
(At Mavuso Sports Centre)

The MTN league continues to dish out drama galore! Match officials had to be whisked away after a pulsating MTN league game pitting Mbabane Highlanders and log leaders, Young Buffaloes ended in a goalless stalemate following a controversially disallowed Philani Mkhonto 87th-minute headed goal.

The Highlanders/Buffaloes’ drab draw result left Green Mamba, who beat hapless Nsingizini Hotspurs 3-1 at King Sobhuza II Memorial earlier today on top of the MTN log standings, one point above Buffaloes on 31 points.

Back at Mavuso Sports Centre, Referee Thulani Sibandze, assistants, Banele Thwala and Sifiso Nxumalo had to be whisked away by a police van as livid Highlanders fans shouted unprintable expletives in their direction after the game.

Mkhonto headed home from a few centimetres off-side position after a
Tony ‘Ben 10’ Muchacha’s shot ricocheted off the post three minutes before full-time. First assistant referee, Banele Thwala had his flag up, ruling the ‘goal’ off-side, a decision which irked the irate Highlanders fans who had celebrated wildly.

Read More: Wanderers’ third win eases relegation worries

It was a close call by the assistant referee in a split-a-second decision which might have needed the intervention of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) which local football does not have. In the end, a battalion of police officers quickly intervened at the sound of the full-time whistle by the referee, Thulani Sibandze, who together with his assistants had been held hostage inside the pitch.

The police officers quickly moved the match officials to a traffic van which whisked them away from the stadium. It was a bitter end to a pulsating clash which had kept the 2 000 or so soccer fans on the edges of their seats throughout the 90 minutes of play.

Highlanders had a chance to score first midway through the first half only for Sihlangu striker Philani Mkhonto to fire wide inside the box when it looked easier to score than to miss. Buffaloes then hit the crossbar in the 67th minute when Sandile ‘Saviola’ Gamedze’s grasping shot ricocheted off the bar.

In the end, Highlanders did have the ball the in the net when Mkhonto finished off with a glancing header but the assistant referee flagged the effort off-side.

In another match at the same venue, Moneni Pirates continued with their mesmerizing form, beating City rivals, Denver Sundowns 2-1 for their third win on the trot.


Moneni Pirates 2 Denver Sundowns 1
Young Buffaloes 0 Mbabane Highlanders 0
Nsingizini Hotspurs 1 Green Mamba 3

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