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Highlanders back on top

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Highlanders . . . . . (0) 3
Black Rhinos . . . . (1) 1

Fortune Mbele

IT WAS just a minor bleep after all.

That is, Highlanders’ loss to Dynamos last week. Yesterday at Barbourfields Stadium Highlanders staged a remarkable show, scoring three times in the second half to overturn Black Rhinos’ lead and shoot back to the top of the log standings.

This, according to the Highlanders family, was a special dedication to the late legend, Tymon “Whitehorse” Mabaleka, who passed on on Friday morning in Harare.

They now have 24 points, one better than Caps United and Dynamos, who are both on 23 going into Week 14.

And who better to revive Highlanders’ championship hopes than their best signing this season and double scorer Charles Sibanda, who netted his sixth and seventh goals of the season. Gabriel Nyoni had levelled matters after Lincoln Samaraya had headed the army side ahead in the 45th minute.

Samaraya’s header off a Wilson Chakanyuka cross on a counter-attack temporarily silenced the Barbourfields crowd.

Nyoni’s header sailed past Rhinos goalkeeper Jonathan Zvaita in the 57th minute from a Valentine Ndaba corner kick before Sibanda nodded another one from substitute Welcome Ndiweni cross in the 65th minute. Sibanda then converted from the spot nine minutes before full time after Eric Manokore had handled inside the box and referee Thembinkosi Sibanda pointed to the spot.

Highlanders had a good game especially in the centre where Joel Ngodzo enjoyed free play with brilliant ball distribution until he was put under guard by Nesbert Padzarondora, but the coming in of Welcome Ndiweni for wasteful Knox Mutizwa in the 54th minute opened up play for Highlanders as Ndiweni roved from the right wing into the centre.

As Bosso dominated play, Black Rhinos gaffer Arthur
Tutani quickly responded by an early substitution introducing Kelvin Chiripawako for an effective veteran Charles Chiutsa in the 36th minute and the substitution changed the complexion of the game, when he came in, contributing to the header by Samaraya.
Coach Kelvin Kaindu was naturally a relieved man.

“It was a good performance despite the fact that we conceded that goal when we were dominating. We went on to score three goals in the second half which showed great character. With the way we played today (yesterday), we don’t have a problem against How Mine. We came back recharged in the second half,” Kaindu said.
Black Rhinos gaffer Arthur Tutani was impressed with his charges despite the loss, saying he is ready for Dynamos in his next game.

“We have lost but the score line does not give a true picture of the game. We conceded goals from schoolboy blunders. My early substitution was a tactical move as I needed someone who was swift. We are away to Dynamos, but most of my players come from Harare so we will be at home. This was a good entertaining game,” Tutani said.

TEAMS
HIGHLANDERS: A Sibanda, S Munawa, B Kangwa, D Ndlovu, I Mapuranga, E Mudzingwa, K Mutizwa (W Ndiweni 54th minute), J Ngodzo (F Chindungwe 82nd minute), G Nyoni, V Ndaba (G Makarause 84th minute), C Sibanda
BLACK RHINOS: J Zvaita, J Mukombwe, M Kureva, O Gada, N Padzarondora, L Samaraya (B Muzondiwa 66th minute), C Chiutsa (K Chiripawako 36th minute), P Marufu, E Manokore, W Chakanyuka (B Chikaka 75th minute), B Homora

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