Bosso win in Beit­bridge thriller

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Thu­peyo Mu­leya in Beit­bridge

Bor­der Strik­ers 1-2 High­landers (Tabwe Kalunga 12 min­utes) H’lan­ders 2 (Ralph

Matema 69 min, Nh­lanhla Ndlovu 90 min) HIGH­LANDERS had to come from be­hind to col­lect max­i­mum points fol­low­ing a scare against rel­e­ga­tion Bor­der Strik­ers in a Cas­tle Lager Pre­mier­ship match at Dulivhadz­imu Sta­dium yes­ter­day.

It was an en­ter­tain­ing game of two halves played be­fore an ap­pre­cia­tive near ca­pac­ity crowd in Beit­bridge, with the home team easily con­trol­ling the open­ing stanza, but with­er­ing in the sec­ond half.

Bor­der Strik­ers went into the driv­ing seat in the 12th minute when Tabwe Kalunga’s pow­er­ful shot in­side the box beat Bosso goal­keeper Arial Sibanda to send the crowd wild.

Sibanda had ini­tially failed to deal ef­fec­tively with an at­tempt on goal by Clever Mu­ten­de­b­vure and Kalunga pun­ished him.

The bor­der town sup­port­ers were clearly on cloud nine and prob­a­bly en­vis­ag­ing an­other huge up­set fol­low­ing the Pre­mier­ship debu­tants’ shock 2-1 win over for­mer cham­pi­ons Dynamos at the same venue at the be­gin­ning of last month.

Bor­der Strik­ers had started the match strongly and Mu­ten­de­b­vure found the back of the net as early as the third minute, but ref­eree Mun­yaradzi Ma­joni ruled out his ef­fort for off­side.

Bosso were clearly out of sorts, as they were com­pletely out­classed by the min­nows, who, how­ever, failed to kill off the game in the first half they dom­i­nated.

The vis­i­tors tried to build from the back, but their front line found no thor­ough­fare in the home team’s de­fence that was mar­shalled by Micheal Variso.

Bosso showed some im­prove­ment in the sec­ond half and coach Erol Ak­bay in­tro­duced vet­eran striker Ralph Matema for de­fender and cap­tain Felix Chun­dungwe in the 67th in a des­per­ate move to sal­vage the match and it worked al­most im­me­di­ately.

Matema drew Bosso level two min­utes af­ter com­ing onto the pitch with a pow­er­ful header off a cross by new boy Allen Ga­hadzikwa.

From then on, the Bu­l­awayo gi­ants turned on the heat, forc­ing four cor­ners in a space of 10 min­utes.

Bor­der Strik­ers’ coach Never Malunga then got his sub­sti­tu­tion wrong by in­tro­duc­ing Borges Ju­nidly for play­maker Mun­yaradzi Chi­rape in the 75th minute, which ef­fec­tively killed the home side’s rhythm.

While Malunga got his tac­tics wrong, Ak­bay brought on mid­fielder Dou­glas Sibanda for the tired Tendai Ndlovu and that proved to be the game changer.

Bosso be­came more force­ful in at­tack and lit­er­ally camped in­side the Bor­der Strik­ers’ half.

With the hosts think­ing they had done enough to se­cure a point, an­other High­landers’ new boy Nh­lanhla Ndlovu struck on the stroke of full time, stun­ning the home crowd into si­lence.

Some Bosso fans could not con­tain their joy af­ter the last minute win­ner and de­stroyed the perime­ter fence near the VIP sec­tion as they cel­e­brated the goal, but po­lice swiftly moved in to pre­vent the en­su­ing chaos.

Bor­der Strik­ers now have a moun­tain to climb in their quest to fight rel­e­ga­tion and have to beat fel­low strug­glers Tsholot­sho in their next game away in Bu­l­awayo.

Ak­bay said his team had lost con­cen­tra­tion in the first half, but got it right in the last half.

“We wasted a lot of chances in the first half of the match, but we had to work on that in the sec­ond half and we got max­i­mum points. Bor­der Strik­ers are a very strong team (and) they gave us a run for our money,” said Ak­bay.

Malunga con­ceded de­feat, say­ing his charges had lost it in the sec­ond half.

“We had the game in the bag, but com­pla­cency was our great­est un­do­ing.

‘‘We wasted a lot of chances in the sec­ond half. We could have won the match by a wide mar­gin. How­ever, we are not throw­ing in the towel just yet; we are go­ing to fight un­til the last whis­tle to avoid rel­e­ga­tion,” said Malunga.

Bor­der Strik­ers’ sec­re­tary-gen­eral Rodlet Chig­winya said they had lodged a com­plaint with the match com­mis­sioner over the con­duct of Bosso fans that de­stroyed the fence.

Ralph Matema

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