Bosso move closer
Harare City 0 - 1 Highlanders FC HIGHLANDERS coach Erol Akbay believes their victory over Harare City at Rufaro yesterday could provoke his team’s charges to go and for broke and try and win the Castle Lager Premiership title for the first time in 10 years.
The race cracked wide open yesterday after midfielder Allen Gahadzikwa scored the only goal of the match on the hour mark to lift Bosso to within four points of log leaders FC Platinum.
Goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda was the other hero as he made a crucial save to deny Harare City from the penalty spot after referee Brighton Chimene had awarded a hotly-contested penalty.
But with the win, Highlanders took advantage of the slip-up by the leading pack of FC Platinum and Caps United, who had dropped points in their matches the previous day, to take their points tally to 44.
And with six games remaining in the season, and 18 points to play for, Akbay yesterday said it was game on and was confident Highlanders will have a big say in the destiny of this year’s championship.
The Bulawayo giants last won the league title back in 2006 with Methembe Ndlovu as coach and are desperate to end the barren run.
Akbay was in high spirits after the match yesterday with the renewed hopes of a strong finish.
“They (FC Platinum and Caps United) dropped the points and that means we have moved two points closer to these guys and that will give them more pressure to win every game and motivation for us to win also every game.
“We have six games to go now and there is a difference of four points, it’s not too much. That means if you have a chance you have to go for it and we want to go for the championship, yes.
“This game is good motivation. To win the next game again is very important,” said Akbay.
Highlanders are enjoying a purple patch and have gained more ground in the last month following an impressive run of four successive wins over How Mine, Border Strikers, Dynamos and Harare City.
Remarkably, this was not only Highlanders’ first win over Harare City at Rufaro since 2012 when the Sunshine Boys came to the big stage but it was also the first time they had scored them at the venue.
It needed mid-season signing Gahadzikwa to break the jinx for Bosso when he beat the Harare City defenders to an aerial ball and planted a powerful header from a good cross by rookie forward Prince Dube.
Earlier in the game, the supporters were treated to some interesting duels with the sides playing good which tested both goalkeepers Tafadzwa Dube and Sibanda.
Highlanders nearly punished the hosts when City goalkeeper Dube failed to deal with a high cross from rightback Tendai Ngulube but the hosts responded with a swift counter attack.
Warriors midfielder, Raphael Manuvire, should count himself unlucky after his pile-driver crashed against the basement of the upright post and from the rebound rookie striker Jerry Chipangura somehow misdirected his shot wide.
Highlanders supporters rained missiles onto the pitch after the referee adjudged their captain Erick Mudzingwa handled the ball in an attempt to clear the lines.
The decision was met with protests from the visitors and poetic justice was delivered as goalkeeper Sibanda dived to his right and blocked William Manondo’s spot kick.
Sibanda made another frantic save, injuring himself in the process, when he stretched full length and tipped the ball over the bar after Ronald Chitiyo had unleashed a fierce volley at the edge of the box.
Akbay said they are aiming to maintain the pressure on the top two teams by winning their next assignment at home against Tonderai Ndiraya’s Ngezi Platinum.
Harare City coach Moses Chunga was disappointed by his side’s performance, especially coming from a big win in the Chibuku Super Cup where they hammered struggling newboys Border Strikers 4-0 in their last match.
“It’s disappointing the way we played. I think in first half we controlled the game but our execution in front of goal wasn’t that good.
“It’s always disappointing to lose but as I have said we had 10 players (unavailable for selection) but I don’t mourn about that.
“We have to find a solution, that’s the name of the game,” said Chunga.
Ariel Sibanda makes a crucial save to deny Harare City from the penalty spot