Dynamos . . . . . . (2) 3
Buffaloes . . . . . . . 0
Report by Henry Mhara
SIMBA Sithole’s first-half brace and a converted penalty by Denver Mukamba on the stroke of full-time at Rufaro Stadium yesterday ensured Dynamos are on the verge of retaining the Premier Soccer League title, although Highlanders remain hard on their heels.
The Harare giants are on 68 points, two clear of Highlanders who beat FC Platinum 1-0 at Barbourfields yesterday, with one game left before the season comes to an end.
Dynamos will wrap up their league campaign with an away trip to relegated Hardbody, needing a draw to successfully defend their title, while Highlanders travel to another relegated side, Blue Rangers, for their final fixture, as they hunt for the title. The Bulawayo giants will be praying that Kalisto Pasuwa’s men drop points.
However, judging by Dynamos’ performance in recent weeks, in particular yesterday, it is highly unlikely that the
Pasuwa-coached side will drop any point.
In Buffaloes, Dynamos faced a stern test as the Mutare-based team had not lost a match in Harare this season.
It all looked like the Saul Chaminuka-coached side would preserve their unbeaten record in the capital as they pressed their fancied opponents.
The defending champions kept their composure, however, and were rewarded when Sithole delicately placed the ball beyond the diving Hopeful Bere in goals for Buffaloes in the 33rd minute.
The former Caps United and Mamelodi Sundowns striker then volleyed over Bere three minutes later with his seventh goal in seven starts.
Bere took all the flak for the second goal after he lost possession when he tried to dribble past Mukamba after receiving a back pass from a defender.
Soccer Star of the Year hopeful Mukamba then converted a penalty on 90th minute, sending Bere the wrong way – after Tawanda Muparati had been hacked down in the box by Phillip Chandisaita.
Despite putting one hand on the trophy, Pasuwa remained modest.
“It’s not yet over until it’s over. Like I have said before, we have to concentrate on every game that comes up so that we collect three points. We were hurrying chances in today’s match instead of being composed in front of goal, but I’m happy that we managed to score the needed goals at the end,” said Pasuwa.
His opposite Saul Chaminuka believed they gifted Dynamos a win.
“If you concede a goal like that then there is no way you can win a match. The first two goals were gifts. The goalkeeper had everything before him. He could have taken the ball away, but he opted to dribble past a striker. Who is supposed to dribble, a defender or a striker?” asked Chaminuka.
Dynamos started the match knowing that a win would put them in a good position to retain the title, but it was the visitors who enjoyed the early exchanges.
As the half wore on, Dynamos’ class and guile saw them gradually ease into a position of dominance.
Sithole hit the crossbar on the half-hour mark after exchanging passes with Mukamba, with the later shooting over moments later.
After a period of sustained pressure on the Buffaloes goal, the deadlock was eventually broken as Sithole curled home a superb shot from inside the box after exchanging passes with RodreckMutuma, with Mukamba also involved in the build-up to the goal.
With Buffaloes pushing for a goal, Dynamos broke from a corner and a miscue by a defender fell on Bere, who tried his luck with dribbling, but Mukamba stole the ball and laid it to Sithole who chipped over the stranded keeper.
There was not much action in the second half as Dynamos were content in passing the ball around to kill off time against chasing Buffaloes players.
Substitute Martin Vengesai hit the crossbar for Dynamos with a speculative shot on 80th minute while Mukamba headed wide from some two metres out moments later.
With time ticking away, Muparati made a darting run into the box, but was brought down as he prepared to pull the trigger.
Mukamba stepped up to score.