Ricky Zililo in BULAWAYO
Highlanders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1) 3
Shabanie Mine . . . . . . . . . . . . (1) 1
HIGHLANDERS’ youngsters showed great character by coming from a goal down to beat Shabanie Mine and stretch their unbeaten run in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League to seven games at Barbourfields yesterday. Bosso displaced defending champions FC Platinum from second position and are two points behind leaders Ngezi Platinum Stars, who are on 19 points.
Shabanie Mine drew first blood through a gem of a goal in the 12th minute by Donald Makuwe.
The attacking midfielder volleyed a long pass from Nyasha Mpofu from outside the box to beat a badly-positioned Highlanders’ goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda.
This was the first time this season that Bosso found themselves trailing in a game and their character was really put to test as Shabanie Mine played with purpose, especially in the opening 20 minutes of the game.
Highlanders didn’t lose hope despite being a goal down as they stuck to their game plan, knocking the ball around trying to find openings.
Godfrey Makaruse went down in the box after being fed by impressive Brian Banda in the 17th minute and three minutes later Newman Sianchali stumbled after being cleverly set up by Nigel Makumbe.
Highlanders’ patience finally paid off as they equalised through a goal from seasoned defender Peter Muduhwa whose cheeky back heel flew past Shabanie Mine goalkeeper Petros Moyo in the 40th minute.
Sianchali, who is on loan from Talen Vision, scored his first goal for Bosso in the 55th minute, giving Highlanders a deserved lead.
The build-up to the second goal started with roving right-back McClive Phiri whipping in a cross that was missed by Shabanie Mine defenders and Sianchali raced to head the ball, but Moyo pulled a fine save forcing a corner.
From the resultant corner, Sianchali shielded the ball from his marker before blasting past Moyo from close range.
Highlanders put the game beyond the reach of Shabanie Mine in the 80th minute, with Banda squeezing his shot under Moyo’s armpits.
Shabanie Mine coach Takesure Chiragwi was happy with his players’ performance despite the loss.
“We did very well, especially in the first half. There was pace in the first half. This is one game as a coach I’m not disappointed with because we performed well.
“We need to work on defending set pieces because we are conceding from that area,” said Chiragwi.
Bosso coach Madinda Ndlovu was happy that his boys managed to stage a comeback.
“I think Shabanie Mine did their homework very well. The first 20 minutes was total hell for us. It was pressure that we’ve not experienced since we started this league (campaign).
“I was happy that the boys did not give in to the pressure. That goal nearly destroyed us because this was the first time we had to come from behind and I didn’t know how my boys were going to react,” said Ndlovu.
“The boys fought and responded to what we’ve been requesting, giving the best football to the fans that come to support us. They promised they were going to come, they came and the boys didn’t disappoint, which is a plus. It is important to mention that the good performance of our team is attributed to the behaviour of our supporters, who kept on cheering the boys.’’
There was another huge crowd at Barbourfields yesterday.