AS Dynamos fans ponder the significance of their team’s expensive 1-1 draw against Highlanders at Rufaro Stadium on Sunday, they should be wondering if their side would be able to defend their title.
REPORT BY HENRY MHARA SPORTS REPORTER
The Harare giants, now on 59 points, would have gone five points clear at the top with a victory over their second-placed rival, but a combination of inaccuracy and a blunder by goalkeeper George Chigova late in the match rendered Simba Sithole’s superb early strike useless.
Their assistant coach Tonderai Ndiraya, in his post match comments said he was happy with the score, but on reflection, he knows very well that this was a grand opportunity lost.
Against a Highlanders team that was operating in fits and starts especially in the opening half, this is one match whose results Dynamos might regret at the end of the season.
“We will not regret this match, not at all. We are still on top by two points so why should we regret? Yes, we could have increased the gap at the top but these things happen and we are happy that we are still on top,” Ndiraya said.
After watching his side survive the extravagant Dynamos strikers and snatching a late point, Highlanders coach Kevin Kaindu knows his side still has a big chance to win the title.
“I believe there is no team that has been confirmed champions yet. The race is on because there are still 12 points left to play for. The point we gained today (Sunday) was very vital because it leaves the race wide open,” Kaindu said after the match.
With highflying Monomotapa still a threat to Dynamos, the Bosso fans know very well that the log leaders’ title chase is now a bit more complicated.
Dynamos visit relegationthreatened Black Mambas tomorrow at Morris Depot in what on paper appears a winnable match, but history has shown that teams fighting with their back on the wall are difficult to beat.
On the same day, Highlanders host Buffaloes at Barbourfields in what promises to be a closely fought encounter as the army side has not lost in Bulawayo this season.
But unlike Mambas who will be playing for their dear life, Buffaloes, seated pretty on seventh position, will be playing for nothing other than pride.
After the Monoz tie, Dynamos also host Buffaloes before concluding their campaign away to Hardbody.
As for Highlanders, they travel to Hardbody next weekend, host FC Platinum before facing Blue Rangers, who received a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Motor Action on Saturday.
Sithole gave the log leaders an ideal start with a well-taken goal early in the match, taking down a long ball from Chigova and with his back to goal, swiftly turned and fired despite close attention of a defender.
Dynamos created a handful of chances thereafter to win any match, but the way their players were reckless in front of goal was just alarming.
Moments after Sithole had scored, Tawanda Muparati raced clear but shot straight at the grateful Bosso keeper Ariel Sibanda.
Devon Chafa was next to squander a chance when he ballooned his effort over from a good range before Sithole headed wide when set by Farai Mupasiri.
The former Caps United striker then lobbed Sibanda but could not find the target late in the first half while Mupasiri failed from a metre out after a through ball by Denver Mukamba.
However, it was the former Young Sables player Mupasiri who had the miss of the day midway through the second half.
After Mukamba had made a run on the left and drew all the defenders and goalkeeper with him, the lanky midfielder centred the ball for Mupasiri who opted to hit the fans on the stands.
The miss definitely gave Highlanders hope that they could get something out of the game. They started pushing forward with Mthulisi Maphosa dominating the midfield battle and their efforts were rewarded, in fortunate circumstances though.
Left-back Bruce Kangwa’s miscued cross saw Chigova spill the ball into his own nets. The celebrations by the Highlanders fans after the goal and then at the final whistle said it all.