BY TERRY MADYAUTA
WHAWHA……………………… (2) 3
BULAWAYO CITY……………. (3) 3
STRUGGLERS, Whawha and Bulawayo City settled for a share of the spoils in what turned to be a pulsating six-goal thriller played at Ascot stadium yesterday.
Prior to this enthralling contests, which kept fans on the edges of their seats, the two sides had given a dull account of themselves, with some poor and lacklustre performances both in the Chibuku Super Cup and the opening league matches.
However yesterday, they gave a decent account of their capabilities to preserve their premiership status.
In particular former Dynamos poster-boy Wisdom Mutasa turned the hands of time as he gave what could be probably his best show since joining the Bulawayo club.
The former Young Warriors skipper, scored twice in the first half when Bulawayo City opened a two-goal lead which they, however, failed to preserve following a massive surge from the prison wardens after the 40 minute mark.
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City could have wrapped up the match in the first 35 minutes, after racing to a 3-1 lead at that time but they crumbled like a deck of cards, as Edmore Muzanenhamo and Roy Useni’s goals proved decisive to help the home side pick their second point of the season.
City began the match with so much intent and it was Mutasa, who opened the score-sheet after five minutes, with an easy tap-in from a penalty rebound after goalie, Alexander Useni palmed Wilfred Munhorwei’s initial effort from the spot.
The lead was, however, short-lived as the prison wardens, restored parity five minutes later courtesy of Jayden Barake, who rose high to nod home a delightful cross that had been whipped into the box by Admiral Matope.
WhaWha, though, were jittery in the early exchanges and they were again punished by Tawanda Zinaka who outpaced the WhaWha defenders before poking the ball home from a Crispen Machisi cross.
Mutasa extended their lead on the 31 minute mark, after slotting in from another delightful delivery by Machisi.
Captain Muzanenhamo reduced the warden’s arrears moments before the half-time breathe, with a trademark thunderbolt of a free-kick from outside the box.
And it was Roy Useni, who made sure they avoid defeat at home after his deflected volley, beat goalie Elton Sibanda on the 85th minute.
Whawha could have won this one, had they been precise in the final third as winger Nyasha Gurende whipped in cross after cross but they found no takers, with the Bulawayo City defense disorganized on most occasions.
Bulawayo City coach Philani Ncube was the first to admit that his charges lacked character.
“We thought we could get the win after the lead but once we conceded the second goal, we knew they were going to come at us in the second half,” Ncube said after the match.
“For the first and second goals I blame the defenders, but the last one was noone’s fault because it took at deflection and confused the keeper.
“However I knew we will get somewhere to start after two first loses to Ngezi and Manica Diamonds. I am sure this is our turning point and we are looking forward to the next assignments.”
His counterpart Luke Petros was happy that his team is slowly stabilising following their forgettable sojourn in the Chibuku Super Cup.
“I am happy, we got our second point and now I can say we have a team that is good enough to fight for survival. At halftime I told them that we need to fight and avoid defeat at home.
“We did that but what makes me happier is that now our team is stabilising and showing potential. I think we can build from here as we go to the next match against Highlanders,” Petros said.
Castle Lager Premier League results and fixtures
Yesterday: WhaWha 3-3 Bulawayo City, ZPC Kariba 1-3 Triangle
Today: Manica Diamonds vs Highlanders (Sakubva Stadium), Dynamos vs Cranborne Bullets (National Sports Stadium)
Postponed: Chicken Inn v Tenax, Black Rhinos v Caps United, Bulawayo Chiefs v FC Platinum