Cit­i­zens frus­trate ’Lan­ders

Sunday Observer - - SPORT - BY SA­BELO GWEBU

Cit­i­zens..........................................(0)0 High­landers................................. (0)0

SOC­CER - Mba­bane High­landers goal­less draw at Somhlolo Na­tional Sta­dium against a gal­lant Mba­bane Cit­i­zens can be de­scribed or pre­sum­ably can be a re­sult of three things.

It can be that Wed­nes­day night’s em­phatic 2-1 win over Green Mamba, which handed the Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices side their first de­feat of the MTN League cam­paign took the en­ergy out of them or be­cause High­landers stars all of a sud­den found them­selves world beat­ers and did not see the need to en­gage the sec­ond gear against a strug­gling Cit­i­zens side or Cit­i­zens came to this match with a per­fect plan that was well ex­e­cuted.

De­ter­mi­na­tion

Against Green Mamba on Wed­nes­day, High­landers fought bravely for 92 min­utes and for once this sea­son, they showed hunger and de­ter­mi­na­tion, par ex­cel­lence. For once they lived to their pre-sea­son league ti­tle favourites tag but yes­ter­day they were a shadow of that.

One shot on tar­get for the whole du­ra­tion of the game is not enough to win any team a game, not even the best and clin­i­cal teams of this world. S outh Afri c a n s t r i ker Thabiso Mo­kenkoane who was quiet by his stan­dards pulled the ball back on the by-line with Mla­muli ‘Mlaba’ Nkam­bule meet­ing it with the in­side of his boot in an at­tempt that un­for­tu­nately bounced off the cross bar with Sandile ‘Onyango’ Dlamini at the Cit­i­zens sticks well beaten after 73 min­utes. That was the clos­est High­landers were to goal.

Coach Saul Chamu­nika’s plans were tat­tered as early as the 22nd minute. Livewire Sa­belo ‘Sawa’ Gamedze was forced off with what looked like a strained mus­cle and the best High­landers player cur­rently was re­placed by Sidumo Shongwe to give Sih­langu coach Anthony Mdluli headache ahead of the squad camp that be­gins tonight.

Ear­lier on, High­landers goal­keeper Khanyak­wezwe Sha­bal­ala had to push over the bar for a fruit­less cor­ner by Ernest Af­ful while on the op­po­site end Mo­kenkoane could only find the side net after ex­pertly send­ing a dummy to Dan Sha­bangu.

Cit­i­zens should have stolen this one. Seven min­utes after re­sump­tion, Craig Abra­hams who was lurk­ing at the back post un­marked from a Man­coba Vila kati cross on the right de­light­fully shot nar­row ly wide of Khanyak­wezwe’s far post.

At the end of the day, spoils were shared and it was a tale of two cities in the lit­eral sense.

High­landers’ fans were an­gry, shout­ing all un­print­able ex­ple­tives towards their play­ers and match of­fi­cials while Cit­i­zens boss Bheki ‘Rub­ber’ Sime­lane joined his play­ers on the field to cel­e­brate the point.

Teams

Cit­i­zens : Sandi le ,Saco lo , Ndlangamandla, Dan, Sizwe, Lun­gelo (Mlotsa), Ayanda, Andile, Abra­hams, Af­ful (Samke­liso), Man­coba

High­landers: Khanyak­wezwe, Peter, Si­bonelo, Vusi, Ji­moh, ‘Mlaba’, ‘Chocco’ (Sit­hole), Zungu, Thabiso, Nd­aba (‘Nkola’), ‘Sawa’ (Sidumo)

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