Bulawayo CHIEFS……(1)3 Mutare City ………(1)2
GRACIOUS Mleya’s second half brace earned Bulawayo Chiefs the maximum points following a hard-fought victory over struggling Mutare City at Luveve Stadium yesterday.
BY SAKHELENI NXUMALO
The Chiefs’ skipper led from the front as his team twice came from behind to register their seventh win of the season and take their points tally to 29 from 23 matches.
Chiefs, who were impressive in their 1-0 win over Harare City last weekend, started poorly and some woeful defending by the otherwise dependable Andrew Tandi gifted the visitors with a goal-scoring opportunity five minutes into the game and Mutare City’s Jeffrey Takunda opened the scoring from close range.
The hosts levelled matters on 24 minutes through Farau Matare after a City defender had blocked a Shadrack Nyahwa cross onto the hard running striker’s path.
Chiefs’ goalkeeper David Bizabani ensured that the two teams went to the break with the scoreline level when he denied the outstanding Hussein Zvakavapano from point blank range after the City forward had been sent through by Piniel Gumbo.
Zvakavapano eventually restored the visitors’ lead after the restart, having benefitting from the off-form Nyahwa who lost his footing and gave away the ball on the 54th minute.
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The visitors’ lead was shortlived, however, as Mleya drew parity for the hosts two minutes later with a direct strike from a free-kick that was awarded after Chiefs right-wing back Malvin Mkolo had been fouled by a City player.
Mleya completed his brace on the 58th minute after being fed by Matare to complete a quick counter attacking move by the hosts.
Chiefs coach Garthly Chipuka blamed complacency for the defensive mistakes that nearly cost his team.
“We started badly, thus the away team scored first and I think the boys were relaxed and thought that Mutare City, being lowly-positioned, were not that good, but I am glad that they recovered well,” Chipuka said.
Bulawayo Chiefs: D Bizabani, M Mkolo, S Nyahwa, A Tandi, S Dube, S Mhlanga (A Musiiwa 57), T Muzuva, G Mleya, S Ngala, P Chikwende, F Matare (C Makamba 70).
Mutare City: A Chiname, P Gumbo, G Jimu, K Bingala, J Takunda, M Moyo (B Mushunje 50), B Chinhoyi (V Tadzoka 45), B Veremu (F Binzi 80), J Chitawira, H Zvakavapano, T Kabanda.