Ricky Zililo in BULAWAYO
Highlanders ……………..(1) 3
HIGHLANDERS fans finally found a reason to smile after their team ended a three-match winless streak by thrashing traditional rivals Dynamos in a rescheduled Match Day 21 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match at Barbourfields yesterday.
Playing in front of a near capacity crowd, Bosso controlled the game from the onset with their midfield of Adrian Silla, Denzel Khumalo, Gabriel Nyoni, Brian Banda and Nigel Makumbe bossing their DeMbare counterparts, as they won most duels and provided more scoring opportunities for their team.
Bosso’s dominance paid off in the 13th minute when mid-season signing, striker Takudzwa Sibanda, chose the big stage to mark his presence in the top-flight to head home a Makumbe corner and send Highlanders’ fans into a frenzy.
Nyoni, who was celebrating his 26th birthday yesterday, grabbed Highlanders’ second headed goal off a Silla corner in the 80th minute.
The second goal came at a time Dynamos were desperately searching looking for an equaliser.
The majority of Dynamos’ supporters that were seated at the Mpilo End Stand trooped out of the stadium after Nyoni’s goal.
The Bosso skipper then capped a fine afternoon with an assist three minutes into time added on, breaking on the right before sending in a pass to Newman Sianchali, who obliged with a ferocious shot into the roof of the net to put the icing on a victory Bosso players and fans will savour for a long time.
Yesterday’s victory was also the biggest for Highlanders over Dynamos in more than a decade.
Two 2-0 wins, when Bosso last won the championship in 2006 and in 2016, had been the biggest they had posted over DeMbare.
Highlanders’ coach Madinda Ndlovu praised his lads for yesterday’s performance.
“It’s just one of those games where we came to the party. Credit goes to my players who came to the party after losing two games. It’s a day where the boys really wanted to play and credit goes to them,” said Ndlovu.
“I’ve always said at pressers that one day, if one team is not careful, they are going to get punished, but not to say that we knew that we were going to beat Dynamos 3-0.
“Such kind of games are not games you can predict. What was the winner was that both teams came to the party and played good football.
“Dynamos had very good moments when we were looking for the ball and there were times when we retained possession and we did well in terms of our attacking flair.’’
Dynamos should have equalised in the 16th minute, but striker Kuda Kumwala fluffed a perfect scoring opportunity by shooting wide from close range in a one-on-one situation with Highlanders’ keeper Ariel Sibanda.
Peace Makaha then forced a fine save from Sibanda who parried his well-struck left footer out for a corner.
The Harare giants wasted another opportunity in the 40th minute when striker Quality Kangadze chose to be selfish, and went for goal with a weak shot, instead of passing the ball to Kumwala, who was better positioned for a possible tap-in.
Highlanders were equally guilty of squandering a number of scoring opportunities and could have won by a wider margin if their frontmen had been sharper.
Dynamos’ assistant coach Joseph Takaringofa said they paid dearly for failing to defend set-pieces.
“Today we’ve been our worst enemy, conceding silly goals. We made mistakes by conceding two goals from set pieces. I was disappointed with the third goal, at this level you can’t talk of positional discipline.
“We also failed to exploit our chances,” said Takaringofa, who stood in for head coach Lloyd Mutasa, who was in Brazzaville with the Warriors for an African Cup of Nations qualifier.
Highlanders: A. Sibanda, M. Phiri, M. Ndlovu, T. Ndlovu, P. Muduhwa, A. Silla, G. Nyoni, D. Khumalo, T. Sibanda, B. Banda, N. Makumbe (N. Sianchali, 79th minute)
Dynamos: S. Chinani, P. Makaha, O. Mushure, P. Dube, J. Tigere, B. Moyo, G. Saunyama, M. Mukumba (B. Amidu, 54th minute), K. Kumwala, Q. Kangadzi (E. Mandiranga, 63rd minute), D. Mukamba (P. Mutasa, 76th minute)