Highlanders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (0)2
Zimbabwe Saints . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
Highlanders kept their championship hopes alive when they completed a double over Zimbabwe Saints with two second-half goals, including a neatly taken Louis Matawu goal, in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League derby played at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
The Bulawayo football giants have shot to the third spot on the log table after riding over Dynamos who played in a 7-6 penalty shootout loss in the semi-final of the BancABC Sup8r Cup to Motor Action on Saturday.
Former Bantu Rovers defender Dumisani “Fazo” Ndlovu gave Highlanders the opener after failing to clear striker Graham Ncube’s effort in the 51st minute with goalkeeper Munyaradzi Diya a beaten man.
Graham Ncube appeared to be offside receiving a cross in Chauya Chikwata’s half from Lawson Nkomo and referee Thomas Masaka and second linesman Thomas Kusosa let him loose.
His attempt was punched away by Diya and the ball fell back onto his path and he pushed the ball to the far post and in attempt to clear the ball off the goal line, Ndlovu’s clearance hit the right upright post and rolled into the nets.
The goal injected life into the otherwise dull match as Matawu kept the Saints midfield of Sydney Linyama, Gift Phiri and substitute Kevin Sibanda busy.
A build-up from left-back Bruce Tshuma, saw Bruce Kangwa dummying the ball to Ncube whose flick was chested down by Matawu, who then pushed the ball under Diya to give Highlanders the second goal in the 74th minute.
Saints have themselves to blame as they appeared to be content playing for a draw with a newly-assembled squad.
Assistant coach Jonathan Chikaponya said his boys relaxed in the second half and gave away the game to Highlanders.
“We relaxed in the last 20 minutes.
“It was going to be a good result had it been a draw. I think we will survive relegation with these young lads,” Chikaponya said.
Highlanders gaffer Mkhuphali Masuku pointed out that he capitalised on Chikwata’s strategy to play for a draw.
“Of course, it was a difficult game, but their strategy to play for a draw failed and we knew that eventually a goal would come our way,” Masuku said.
Saints’ new squad comprised of Linyama, Ndlovu, Nkosilathi Dube, Evans Rusike, Itai Munganiwa, Kevin Sibanda and Qondile Sibanda.
Among the players who started the season were Castro Ndebele, captain Chipo Tsodzo, Fortune Nyambosi, Abraham Mbaiwa and Phiri.