Highlanders . . . . . . (1) 1
Shabanie Mine . . . . . . . 0
PASCAL Manhanga scored his first goal for Highlanders since joining the club last month as the Bulawayo giants exorcised the Ascot Stadium curse by beating Shabanie Mine to cruise through to the quarter-finals of the Chibuku Super Cup yesterday.
An unmarked Manhanga poked the ball home from inside the penalty box after being sent through by Bruce Kangwa following a dead ball situation initiated by Joel Ngodzo in the 34th minute.
Bosso needed that solitary goal to get the much-needed reprieve after going for four league matches without a win, nor a goal.
Head coach Kelvin Kaindu was ecstatic after the win.
“It’s a step forward. Highlanders have a history of winning the Chibuku Cup and we would like to thank the sponsors for bringing back the competition as it shows they want to see football improve,” Kaindu said.
“This is good for us — it brings back confidence to the team as we had gone for long without scoring and we scored a goal from a half chance. We still need to work on our finishing as we created a number of chances.”
His counterpart at Shabanie Mine John Phiri said he was impressed with the way his boys played despite the loss and said going ahead, he was confident that the Zvishavane-based side would survive relegation.
“The performance was better and with a bit of luck, we should have equalised, but I am impressed. In the league, I am sure we will survive relegation,” Phiri said.
From the outset, Shabanie Mine dominated play and enjoyed ball possession and could have scored as early as the 11th minute through Godknows Murirwa, but he skied his effort from an Allen Tavariswa cross.
Bosso, who depended more on the counter-attack, could have scored in the 25th minute when midfielder Hillary Madzivanyika broke away from defenders Zvenyika Makonese and Rodney Mware, but he failed to find balance inside the box and Shabanie goalkeeper Victor Twaliki safely collected the ball.
In the second half, Tavariswa for Shabanie had his shot blocked by Dumisani Ndlovu while Highlanders Charles Sibanda missed a sitter in the 65th minute inside the box when he was sent through by an overlapping Kangwa, a move that involved Manhanga.
Shabanie Mine piled pressure towards the end of the match and Madzivanyika cleared off a Makonese header from a substitute Tinashe Kabanda corner kick with Bosso goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda a beaten man.
Two minutes later, another new Bosso mid-season acquisition, Kudzanai Machazane who came in from the bench for Njabulo Ncube, out-jumped the Shabanie Mine defenders, but his header was punched away by Twaliki.
Highlanders: A Sibanda, E Mudzingwa, B Kangwa, D Ndlovu, I Mapuranga, F Chindungwe, P Manhanga, H Madzivanyika, N Ncube (K Machazane 70th minute), J Ngodzo (W Ndiweni 62nd minute), C Sibanda
Shabanie Mine: V Twaliki, S Muchabaiwa, T Majo, Z Makonese, R Mware, D Sibanda, W Kamundyariwa, G Murirwa (T Kabanda 71st minute), X Ncube, ATavariswa, C Mesi (M Mageja 75th minute)