BY FORTUNE MBELE
CHICKEN INN……… 0
HIGHLANDERS continued their winning ways following a classy second half performance to beat city rivals Chicken Inn in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
It was new coach Hendrik Pieter de Jongh’s first league win after he bundled Dynamos out of the Chibuku Super Cup on Sunday.
An injury-inspired substitution in the 37th minute worked wonders for the Bulawayo giants as Adrian Silla came in and changed everything for Highlanders after replacing Divine Mhindirira.
It was sweet revenge for Highlanders against the GameCocks who beat them 3-0 in the reverse fixture and they are now on 31 points, bettering their standings on the log-table.
Banda scored a gem of a goal just 20 seconds into the second half, following a move that involved Tinashe Makanda to hit the roof of the net from close range, leaving goalkeeper Donovan Bernard a spectator.
After that goal, Highlanders were all over Chicken Inn, dominating all areas of play. Nine minutes after the break, Prince Dube killed off the match with a clinical finish, chipping the ball over advancing Bernard after he was sent through by right-back MacClive Phiri.
De Jongh’s said he simply demanded aggression from his players at the break.
“I told them to be more aggressive. I told Prince (Dube) to wake up and stop dreaming and in the second half he was top quality. We played a club that is at the top of the rankings and it looks good for the future. I am happy that as a team we are making good strides and we are in the right direction,” De Jongh said.
Chicken Inn was dislodged from the top spot on the log-standings after the defeat to Highlanders, but coach Joey Antipas is not giving up on the title chase.
“If you look at what’s happening now there is no clear favourites. It’s not only us who is suffering from inconsistency. It is anyone’s guess. We are just hanging in there. We were flat throughout the game. Highlanders were fired up in the second half and deserved to win. They had the desire; much more hungry to win, great second half and they took their chances very well,” Antipas said.
Highlanders: A Sibanda, M Phiri, M Ndlovu, A Mbeba, P Muduhwa, N Masuku, R Lunga (C Kapupurika 70′) B Banda, T Makanda, D Mhindirira (A Silla 37′), P Dube (P Nyirenda 87′)
Chicken Inn: D Bernard, P Bernard, X Ndlovu, G Goddard, L Chakoroma, T Chipunza, V Kadonzvo (G Majika 62′), I Mucheneka, B Amidu (N Mutatiwa 75′), C Matawu, M Gaki (S Ndlovu 55′)