HIGHLANDERS collected maximum points in their first 2018 Castle Lager Premier Soccer league match when they edged Black Rhinos in a tightly-contested tie at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
BLACK RHINOS…… (0) 1
Gabriel Nyoni sealed the victory for the Bulawayo football giants four minutes into the second half with a shot inside the penalty box with Nigel Makumbe making the assist.
Godfrey Makaruse had opened the account in the 36th minute with a header after some fancy footwork from Makumbe, who dribbled past two Black Rhinos defenders inside the penalty box before deftly chipping the ball for Makaruse to slot in.
On the 47th minute, the army-side danger man Lot Chiunga restored parity with a header from a Farai Banda free-kick, but the soldiers’ celebration was cut short by Nyoni’s winner two minutes later.
Despite the victory over Rhinos, Highlanders coach Madinda Ndlovu was modest.
He said the army side gave them a good game.
“It’s still the same approach which we have embarked on as a club. Nothing has changed from the vision that we gave these youngsters an opportunity to showcase themselves at the highest level. I am happy like the supporters, but I am not going to celebrate like them. From the way we started the game, Rhinos had done their homework. They are a formidable team, they were very tricky customers. They are an organised team,” Ndlovu said.
Rhinos were out-played in midfield, where Highlanders dominated with Brian Banda and Adrian Silla in good form.
Black Rhinos coach Hebert Maruwa admitted they were found wanting in the middle of the park. He rued the absence of defender Augustine Mbara.
“It was always going to be difficult playing Highlanders in front of their supporters, but I am happy with the way my boys did their job, especially in the second half. We had a slow start in the first half, but we came back organised. Overally, I give credit to Highlanders. We lost to a good team. We were found wanting in the midfield, we were a bit slow,” Maruwa said.
Highlanders: A Sibanda, M Phiri, H Moyo, T Ndlovu, P Muduhwa, A Silla, G Makaruse (B Ncube 69′), B Banda (M Chitambwe 87′), N Sianchali, N Makumbe (O Zibande 79′), G Nyoni
Black Rhinos: H Rusawo, T Sibanda, F Banda, B Homora, E Kopeni, D Mudadi, A Gahadzikwa (W Kapinda 57′), M Mambare, K Utete (M Mekiwa 56′), W Taderera (T Jaravani 65′), L Chiunga