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Monomotapa oust Highlanders

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Highlanders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (2) 2
Monomotapa . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . (1) 3

MONOMOTAPA came back from behind to storm into the semi-finals of the Mbada Diamonds Cup as they edged an out-of-sorts Highlanders at the Colliery Stadium in Hwange on Sunday.

Report by Fortune Mbele, Hwange

IT’S THAT MAN AGAIN . . . Osborne Mukurudare led Monomotapa’s stunning comeback at the Colliery on Sunday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bulawayo football giants were their own worst enemies after scoring two quick goals with Bhekimpilo Ncube notching a brace in the first 20 minutes, but fizzled out to Monomotapa, who displayed a classy performance.

The Harare team, the only side that has beaten Highlanders this season, halting their 23-match unbeaten run with a 3-0 win in the league three weeks ago, got their goals through Osborne Mukurudare in the 44th minute, Russell Madamombe in the 52nd minute before Hillary Mugoniwa got the winner six minutes before the final whistle.

It was indeed a befitting birthday present for an ecstatic Monoz coach Biggie Zuze, who said he was confident that his side would progress to the final of the tournament.

“My birthday was on Friday and this is a good birthday present for me. It’s the confidence that we have been having as a team that has put us through. We knew that the aged Highlanders players would get tired and would not last the distance. We hope for the best in the next stage,” Zuze said.

Bosso gaffer Kelvin Kaindu said his boys lost concentration and the better team won at the end of the day. Highlanders players’ fitness levels were questionable probably owing to the pay strike that disrupted preparations for the Monomotapa tie, but Kaindu dismissed that.

“They (Monomotapa) were the better side and they won and we wish them good luck in the next stage. We lacked concentration and we looked tired in the second half. This tournament was going to be a booster for a team that is sponsored by the community,” Kaindu said.

Bosso drew first blood as early the 13th minute as Ncube tapped the ball in from an intelligent pass by off-form Mthulisi Maphosa after he received a thrown-in from Lawson Nkomo on the right flank.

Ncube snatched another one in the 19th minute from the blind side after was spotted by Masimba Mambare, who had exchanged passes with Cleopas Dube from a long Ariel Sibanda cross.

Madamombe for Monomotapa fired a cracker which was punched away for a corner by Sibanda and the hat-trick hero that demolished Highlanders three weeks ago headed home from the resultant corner in the 44th minute.

Seven minutes into the second half, Sibanda failed to safely collect another Madamombe stinger from a setpiece, spilling the ball into his own net. Mugoniwa outstretched Sibanda six minutes before the end with another stinger to give Monomotapa the winner.

The Monomotapa midfield of Ronald Chitiyo, Mugoniwa, Madamombe and Tendai Ngulube gave Highlanders a torrid time in yesterday’s match. Chitiyo walked away $500 richer after he also won the man-of-the-match tag in the first round of the competition when Monomotapa beat Hardbody 3-2 in Beitbridge on a day that he grabbed the first Mbada Diamonds Cup hat -trick.

Monomotapa will now meet Caps United in the semi-finals. Caps United sailed through to the quarterfinals after beating Buffaloes 2-0 on Saturday.

Highlanders: A Sibanda, L Nkomo, B Kangwa, D Ndlovu, E Mudzingwa, M Maphosa (P Moyo, 61st minute), S Munawa, C Dube, O Zibande (M Ncube, 56), M Mambare, B Ncube (H Masuku, 82)
Monomotapa: A Mukandi, H Mugoniwa, R Chitiyo (J Mutambiranwa 90), T Ngulube, K Musharu, R Madamombe, O Mwerahari, O Mukuradare (C Rukwanhi 90), J Tigere, M Mungombe, M Nelson

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