Bosso move into second
Highlanders 3-1 Bulawayo City HIGHLANDERS kept their title dream alive by moving a place up the ladder into second on the Castle lager Premiership table after winning the City of Kings derby against Bulawayo City at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
Bosso took their winning run to a magnificent seven games and now sit on 53 points, one behind log leaders Caps United who staged a mysterious comeback in the Harare derby; coming from 0-3 down to force a 3-3 draw against former champions Dynamos.
With three minutes to go, Highlanders fans were ecstatic thinking they now occupied top spot since the last they had heard, Caps United were trailing 3-0 and Bosso were leading 2-1. Substitute King Nadolo then struck on the stroke of fulltime to give Bosso a 3-1 victory.
When referee Munyaradzi Majoni blew to end the game, Bosso fans’ celebrations were rather subdued as information filtered through that Caps United had performed some kind of Houdini act in Harare to grab a point.
Highlanders scored through Gabriel Nyoni, Simon Munawa and Nadolo to cut the gap between them and Caps United to just one point and are now hoping they continue their winning spree and that the Green Machine falters in the next game against Harare City.
Nyoni gave Highlanders a 20th minute lead, capitalising on a goalkeeping boob by Bulawayo City’s Ndodana Sibanda, who miscalculated Allen Gahadzikwa’s long pass intended for Nyoni. The ball took an awkward bounce and over Sibanda, leaving Nyoni with the simplest task of heading into an empty net.
The goal took the steam out of City and Highlanders soon doubled their lead through Munawa, who did justice to a fatanstic move in the 37th minute.
The move was started by in-form Rahman Kutsanzira, who gave the ball to Gahadzikwa, who quickly released it to Prince Dube. Dube sent a through pass to Munawa on the right side of the penalty box and he obliged with a hard and low shot across Sibanda into the far bottom corner.
Bosso captain of the day Erick Mudzingwa then went on to concede a silly penalty when he kicked City’s forward Trevor Ndlovu inside the box in the referee’s first half optional time. Skipper Xolisani Moyo sent Highlanders’ goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda the wrong way to give his team some hope.
Nadolo sealed the game with his second touch of the ball in the 90th minute after replacing the injured Nhlanhla Ndlovu. Nadolo punished City, who had gone on an attack in pursuit of an equaliser, by dispossessing Kelvin Madzongwe in the centre, released the ball to Dube, who charged towards the goal before laying a pass to Nadolo, who toe-poked the ball past the advancing Ndodana.
An ecstatic Highlanders coach Erol Akbay said: “The dream is on and we’ll see what happens at the end of the season. Happy that we won by a two-goal margin so we’re now tied on goal difference with Caps United. We could have won by a bigger margin, but failed to utilise our chances.”
Bosso and Caps United each have a goal difference of 18 goals, and should the championship be decided through a goal difference, Highlanders will rue the chances they missed.
Gahadzikwa blew two glorious scoring opportunities in the opening 10 minutes, while Munawa hit the upright towards halftime after being fed by Dube.
Matema also failed to find the back of the net in the 67th and 71st minutes after getting to the end of pinpoint passes from Dube.
Bosso need to improve their conversion rate to keep up with Caps United when they face relegation threatened Tsholotsho FC in their next encounter.
City on the other hand hardly troubled the Highlanders’ goalkeeper with their interim coach Try Ncube saying they paid dearly for their mistakes.
“We started slow and the first goal got Bosso into the game. After that we made so many mistakes, but I’m happy with how we responded in the second half,” Ncube said.
His captain Moyo said: “We were always second on the ball and we were reacting instead of being in control. It wasn’t our day and playing a team that is enjoying a good run was always going to be tricky.” — @ZililoR —
Highlanders team mates congratulate Gabriel Nyoni (second from left) for scoring the first goal against Bulawayo City during a soccer league match played at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday Picture by Dennis Mudzamiri