Tsholot­sho sink deeper into rel­e­ga­tion

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Ricky Zililo

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.

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