How Mine a step closer to next round

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HOW MINE made their presence felt in the Caf Confederation Cup first leg preliminary round match with a 4-0 emphatic thrashing of Zanzibar’s Chuoni at Barbourfields Stadium on Saturday, setting themselves up for a possible guaranteed next round appearance.

THANDIWE MOYO

The Metallon Gold-sponsored team’s victory set a steep climb for Chuoni who failed to contain the miners’ rout.

Rather than going on holiday in the tropical island of Zanzibar in a fortnight, How Mine have to either defend their four-goal lead or score more goals to make certain of their place in the next round.
The Bulawayo team was the only team in the tournament to score four goals on Saturday with the rest of Africa getting between one and three goals.

Last month, How Mine coach Philani “Beefy” Ncube said their aim was to get to the group stages of the competition and with Saturday’s showing, despite the unfavourable pitch conditions, that could become a reality.

Both coaches complained of the pitch which made it difficult for them to play their best football.

Barbourfields Stadium has a poor drainage system which causes the pitch to become muddy, and at times water-logged. Owing to the recent rains, the pitch has become muddier and slippery.

If How Mine win the return leg in Zanzibar, they will take on either St Michel of Seychelles or Madagascar’s ASSM Elgeco Plus.

Though Chuoni coach Ali Abdalla Hassan blamed their poor showing on the condition of the pitch, his charges seemed to have settled for a draw too early into the match and his defensive approach did not work as he attacked with two strikers.

Hassan said his team played well, but was let down by the condition of the pitch and they were hoping that they would score a lot of goals in their next match.

“We expect to score a lot of goals. How Mine is a very good team, but our team is also very good,” he said.

Within the first 20 minutes of the match, the visitors played an attacking game, but seemed to change to a more defensive strategy as How Mine piled on the pressure.

How Mine, on the other hand, could have scored more than four goals, but missed several chances.

They eventually got goals from Kudakwashe Musharu who scored a brace, a penalty from Menard Mupera and a well-taken free-kick by Warren Dube.

The coming in of Emmanuel Mandiranga in the 40th minute, a minute before their first goal, helped change their fortunes as he created two of the four goals.

Mandiranga assisted both Musharu’s goals.

If How Mine reach the group stages of the Confederation Cup, they would have written their own piece of history.

How Mine’s story started with them having been promoted to the Premier League last season, managing to survive relegation by finishing eighth on the log and getting to the final of the country’s richest cup tournament, the Mbada Diamonds Cup.

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