Highlanders . . . . . (0) 1
Blue Ribbon . . . . . . . . 0
Graham Ncube was on target for Highlanders seven minutes before the final whistle as Bosso beat Blue Ribbon in a lukewarm Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match played before a disappointing crowd at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday.
Ncube finally got it right for Bosso after a wasteful afternoon, which could have seen the Bulawayo football giants score more goals were it not for wasteful strikers Rahman Kutsanzira and Bruce Kangwa, who seemed not to get their feet right on the ball for the entire match.
Substitute Gift Lunga flicked a header to Ncube after receiving the ball from a Louis Matawu build-up in the centre.
Ncube shrugged off a challenge from Blue Ribbon twin centre-backs Brighton Tuwaya and Ephraim Mwinga before letting off a screamer from inside the penalty box which beat goal keeper Tapiwa Zvaita all systems out.
It was a terrible day for both sides on the field of play. Highlanders had the upper hand over the visitors who did not go anywhere near the Bosso goal area the whole afternoon.
Highlanders coach Mkhuphali “Mr Cooper” Masuku lamented the missed chances by his charges, but said he knew the goal would come eventually.
“What we wanted was to enjoy the game and we knew the goal would come. Chances! Chances! Chances! It’s always the song, but we will get there one day,” Masuku said.
His counterpart, Misheck Chidzambwa attributed the loss to the two-week break from action, saying his side had lost rhythm.
“I came here to win, but unfortunately we did not. The break could have cost us because we did not play our normal game,” Chidzambwa said.
His captain, Daniel Kamunhenga, could not keep the ball at his feet for the entire first half and had to be pulled out for the fresh pair of feet of Virimai Mukudo in the second half.
Highlanders could have gone into the lead in the 12th minute, but Matawu could not pack a shot inside the box after a build-up involving Simon Munawa and Ncube.
A long searching ball in the 26th minute by in-form Bekithemba “Super” Ndlovu found Kangwa inside Blue Ribbon’s penalty box, but the forward fluffed another chance to put Bosso ahead with only Zvaita to beat.
Ncube spotted Super from a corner-kick five minutes later, but the veteran defender’s curler hit the side net with Bosso fans anticipating a goal.
Super was at it again from a dead-ball situation after Matawu was brought down by Charlton Mashumba on the right flank touchline in the 60th minute, but his effort hit the left upright post and the rebound found no takers.
Substitute Vincent Nzombe could have increased the tally in the 69th minute with only Zvaita to beat, but was not quick on the ball and it was cleared off his feet by Mwinga.
Kutsanzira was too elaborate on the ball and his actions cost Highlanders a number of chances as he unnecessarily sought the attention of referee Philani Ncube.