Highlanders . . . . . . . . . . . (0) 2
Black Mambas . . . . . . . . . (0) 1
Report by Fortune Mbele
HIGHLANDERS maintained their two-point lead at the top of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League log standings despite a nervy finish against Black Mambas at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
Milton Ncube and Graham Ncube found the target for Bosso as they collected maximum points to move to 26 points, two above second-placed Harare City, who defeated Tripple B 2-0 at Rufaro Stadium yesterday and four ahead of champions Dynamos. Black Mambas got their face-saver from left-back Paida Madziro.
After the match, Highlanders coach Kelvin Kaindu described it as a difficult game for his charges, saying too much energy was expended in the 5-2 win over Monomotapa in Harare on Thursday.
“It was a difficult match for us. We must have put so much effort against Monomotapa, but the most important thing is that we have managed to get three points. The substitutes that came in brought some changes as you could see Heritani (Masuku) was composed, but it was a difficult game for us. We were making so many fouls, but what is important from here is that we keep on winning games,” Kaindu said.
Mambas assistant coach Martin Bonongwe said luck was not on their side after putting up a fight.
“It is unfortunate that we lost, but I think it was a balanced match. We were always first on the ball in the second half. So far it is not so bad, but I think we will have to win our next game,” Bonongwe said.
The first half was a dull affair with both sides making some sporadic raids with Ariel Sibanda spilling a Tsepo Ranthokoane weak shot before recovering to safely collect the ball in the 26th minute. The miss of the day came from an unmarked Milton inside the Black Mambas penalty box from a Bruce Kangwa cross and an out-of-form Peter “Rio” Moyo skied his effort after picking up the loose ball from Milton’s miss.
The police side came from halftime a rejuvenated side asking a lot of questions, but were caught on the break when Milton beautifully planted a Lawson Nkomo cross home from the right to the near post, beating Mambas goalkeeper Tonderai Mateyaunga in the 56th minute. Then in the 72nd minute, in a goalmouth scramble Graham Ncube also forced a header into an empty net after Mateyaunga had been eluded by a miscue on a clearance by his left-back Madziro from substitute Erick Mudzingwa’s cross.
But it was Mambas who were rewarded for their continuous attacks on Bosso when they were awarded a free kick just outside the Highlanders goal area and Maridzo’s harmless-looking strike bounced awkwardly to beat outstretched goalkeeper Sibanda five minutes before full-time.
The match could have ended in a 2-2 draw, but Sibanda came to Bosso’s rescue in the 88th minute when he punched back into play a close-range header from Paul Marazanye.
Highlanders: A Sibanda, L Nkomo, B Kangwa, D Ndlovu, I Mapuranga, M Maphosa, G Ncube, P Moyo (B Chikaka 50th minute), H Madzivanyika (E Mudzingwa 70th minute), M Ncube, S Munawa (H Masuku 55th minute)
Black Mambas: T Mateyaunga, K Kapikinyu, P Madziro, L Kaisa, P Marazanye, C Hungwe, I Nyoni (B Chirimanzi 79th minute), N Ncube (P Khumalo 68th minute), G Mangani, T Ranthokoane, H Chimutimunzeve