Tsholotsho sink deeper into relegation
Tsholotsho FC 0-2 Harare City TSHOLOTSHO FC sank deeper into relegation waters after squandering countless scoring opportunities and were duly punished by visiting Harare City in yesterday’s Castle Lager Premiership match at Luveve Stadium.
Tsholotsho remained rooted second from bottom on the league table with 19 points off 25 matches and needed victory to swap places with Mutare City Rovers.
Mutare City played to a goalless draw against ZPC Kariba on Sunday, a result which presented Tsholotsho with a perfect opportunity to move out of the drop zone with a win.
Tsholotsho had a slow start in yesterday’s encounter and found themselves on the back foot as Harare City’s pressure from the first whistle paid off when Raphael Manuvire connected a Jerry Chipangura cross from the right in the 13th minute.
Chipangura beat Tsholotsho central defender Spar Dube to a long ball that hung in the air for sometime before sending a perfect delivery into the box that Manuvire converted.
Harare City could have put the game to bed in the first half, but killed off the game in the 85th minute through substitute Grey Kufandada, who kept his cool to beat Tsholotsho goalkeeper Mariyoni Chang.
Lizwe Sweswe, Tsholotsho’s coach, said his boys failed to come to the party and need to work hard to survive relegation.
“We just didn’t play well. Our midfielders were slow and second to the ball in most duels. Our game plan was to make sure that we maximise on our possession, but we failed. We just have to go back to the drawing board and work on our shortcomings. I do have fighters in my team and I’m sure they’ll bounce back,” said Sweswe.
Tsholotsho will play two away games in their last five outings against Ngezi Platinum Stars and Highlanders, games they are most unlikely to win.
Their home games will be against Chapungu, Bulawayo City and championship favourites FC Platinum.
Yesterday they struggled to contain Harare City, whose intentions were to get an early goal. The visitors pressed Tsholotsho in the opening 10 minutes, restricting the home side to their own half. Harare City midfielders Ronald Chitiyo and Tatenda Tumba missed the target by a whisker in the first 10 minutes.
After absorbing the pressure, Tsholotsho tried going forward, but could not keep up with the pace of their opponents’ midfielders, who were quick on breaks, especially their wingers Tumba and Chitiyo.
Tsholotsho’s outstanding player of the day Zimiseleni Moyo kept his side in the game by clearing a Chipangura header off the line in the 27th minute.
Three minutes before the break, Harare City keeper Tafadzwa Dube thwarted a Mostafa Ponyera attempt to deny Tsholotsho an equaliser.
Tsholotsho pulled out right-back Trust Nyabinde and defensive midfielder Rodrick Mufudza for strikers Nicholas Mundandishe and Blessing Sibanda in the second half in search of the elusive equaliser.
Tsholotsho’s players either made rushed decisions in the final third or simply missed the target in every chance they created. When Harare City came out of their slumber in the second half, Kufandada, who had replaced Chipangura, then secured all the points with his 75th minute strike.
“It’s good to be back to winning ways and it takes off pressure from the boys,” said Moses Chunga, Harare City’s coach.