Referee Thabani Bamala stole the show after making a series of controversial decisions including a highly- contentions penalty as Herentals bounced back from a goal down to beat Harare City in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match at Rufaro Stadium yesterday.
At Mandava Stadium, veteran forward Ralph Matema scored a delightful match-winner as Yadah FC moved out of the relegation zone after they built on last week's big win over Highlanders, beating Chapungu 2 -1 in another Castle Lager Premier Soccer League encounter .
Yadah moved up the ladder to 14th place with the win, while Herentals jumped to 10th place as the season goes on a two-week break for the Africa Cup of Nations.
A goal on debut by Ashwin Chihowa had given Harare City the lead within 10 minutes before Juan Mutudza levelled matters for Herentals five minutes later.
Bamala made a controversial call early in the second half, adjudging that Takudzwa Chimwemwe had handled in the box when the player clearly controlled the ball with the top part of his chest.
Captain Blessing Majarira converted the resultant spot kick which turned out to be the winner.
In hindsight, the referee had waved away two handling offences in the box for Herentals in the first half.
Harare City coach Mark Harrison was livid with the referee's performance.
"We have been cheated today, it's absolutely scandalous. Why do you work a week? It's a pointless affair. We must just turn up on a Saturday, give away the three points, let somebody else buy them and we just go home," he said.
Herentals coach Kumbirai Mutiwekuziva defended his team against allegations that they are buying referees.
"Emotions are very common in football, especially when you lose a match or when a decision goes against you. Why can't you score more goals when your opponent has scored a controversial penalty?" he said.
As for Yadah, they came into the match with a spring in their step having beaten Bulawayo giants Highlanders in their last assignment.
Yadah drew first blood through Ariel Makopa on the 25-minute mark after capitalising on the airmen's jittery defence line.
Chapungu restored parity 10 minutes later from a penalty, calmly converted by Allen Tavarwisa.
Matema then ensured the Miracle Boys bagged their second set of maximum points on the trot on the 76th- minute mark with a timely diving header from a Brian Chikwenya's cross, with Rusawo rooted at one spot.
Chapungu mentor Rodwell Dhlakama said: "I am disappointed with the result as a coach."
His counterpart Genesis Mangombe heaped praise on his players for a brave show.
Chapungu... ... ... .. (1)1
Yadah FC ... ... ... (1) 2
Harare City... ... ... ... (1)1
Herentals... ... ... ... (1)2