BY FORTUNE MBELE
HIGHLANDERS wrested the Independence Day Trophy from Dynamos in an exciting and tension-filled final at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
Stanley Ngala scored the all-important goal for Highlanders that saw them pocket US$30 000 from Sakunda Holdings and the $6 million prize money from government.
Dynamos got US$9 000 from the oil giant and $4,5 million from government.
Ngala hit the back of the net with a stinger 10 minutes after the break after he was set up by substitute Washington Navaya who rode a tackle by Godknows Murwira.
Highlanders coach Mandla Mpofu was excited with the victory over Dynamos.
“It was a good game; one is for our multitude of fans who came here to celebrate our independence. It might have been a friendly, but like I said during the week, it doesn’t matter what is at stake when you play Dynamos, you play to win,” Mpofu said.
But Dynamos have themselves to blame after dominating the first half, but failed to take their chances.
Coach Tonderai Ndiraya congratulated Highlanders for the win.
“The atmosphere was electric. We really enjoyed the match. Congratulations to Highlanders for winning the game,” Ndiraya said.
Highlanders had a slow start, but came back strong in the second half. Dynamos dominated the first half with some beautiful moves from the right where young Bill Antonio troubled Highlanders defender Mbongeni Ndlovu.
Two minutes into the game, Ralph Kawondera saw his header miss the target from a Murwira corner-kick.
Antonio almost put DeMbare in the lead 14 minutes into the game, but saw his effort punched away for a corner-kick by goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda.
As play continued, Murwira was shown the yellow card in the 22nd minute for dissent after he pushed Chikuhwa as Highlanders began to come alive.
There was a near scuffle between Ngala and Murwira in the 29th minute after a tussle for possession, but they were quickly separated by the match officials.
Highlanders were awarded a free-kick outside the box after a crude tackle on Ngala by goalkeeper Taimon Mvula and Dynamos fans at the Mpilo end pelted Sibanda with missiles and Bosso fans followed suit.
Nqobizitha Masuku’s blistering shot from the resultant free-kick found Mvula equal to the task.
Dynamos: T Mvula, S Nyahwa, B Mpofu, P Jaure, F Makarati, K Murera, G Murwira (E Jalai 77′), R Kawondera, E Paga (E Katema 59′), B Antonio, T Makanda (I Sadiki 59′)
Highlanders: A Sibanda, A Mbeba, M Ndlovu, A Tandi, P Muduhwa N Masuku, R Kutsanzira (W Navaya 45′), D Mhindirira S Ngala, A Silla (A Silla 81′), L Chikuhwa (J Ngodzo 90′)
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