Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
Highlanders 3-1 Shabanie Mine
HIGHLANDERS’ youngsters showed great character by coming from a goal down to beat visiting Shabanie Mine and stretch their unbeaten run in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League to seven games.
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.
The visitors played as a unit and it was therefore difficult to come up with an outstanding player.
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.
Shabanie Mine’s defence stood resolute and in the few cases that Highlanders breached their line, they tripped. 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.
The resultant goal came after Bosso had won a free kick outside the box and Makumbe sent in a cross, which was punched back into play by Moyo. Banda, whose stock is rising with each passing game, then headed the ball to Muduhwa, who back heeled it past a bemused Moyo.
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 by Makumbe, 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.
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. 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,” he said.
Highlanders: Ariel Sibanda, McClive Phiri, Charlton Siamalonga, Peter Muduhwa, Tendai Ndlovu (Mbongeni Ndlovu, 51st minute), Ben Musaka, Gabriel Nyoni, Brian Banda (Thabo Lunga, 85th minute), Newman Sianchali, Nigel Makumbe (Adrian Silla, 69th minute), Godfrey Makaruse
Shabanie Mine: Petros Moyo, Lloyd Manyande, Nyasha Mpofu, Benjamin Makundu, Ali Maliselo, Joe Nyabinde, Trevor Ajana (Maxwell Murimi, 66th minute), Donald Makuwe, Carlos Rusere (Kibaki Dhlamini, 77th minute), Romeo Pakamisa (Fradreck Muza, 75th minute), David Temwanjira
Saturday: Harare City 0-0 Black Rhinos, ZPC Kariba 1-1 Chicken Inn, Bulawayo City 1-2 Triangle United, Yadah FC 0-2 Nichrut, Ngezi Platinum 2-1 Mutare City Rovers, Bulawayo Chiefs 2-0 FC Platinum
Yesterday: Caps United 1-0 Dynamos, Highlanders 3-1 Shabanie Mine, Chapungu 1-0 Herentals
P W D L F A GD Pts
Ngezi Platinum 7 6 1 0 10 2 8 19
Highlanders 7 5 2 0 11 4 7 17
FC Platinum 7 5 1 1 11 3 8 16
Triangle United 7 4 1 2 7 6 1 13
Caps United 7 3 3 1 8 4 5 12
Chicken Inn 7 3 3 1 9 5 4 12
Harare City 7 2 4 1 6 5 1 10
Nichrut 7 2 3 2 6 5 1 9
Bulawayo Chiefs 7 2 3 2 8 8 0 9
Black Rhinos 7 2 2 3 5 7 -2 8
Chapungu 7 2 2 3 5 8 -3 8
Shabanie Mine 7 1 4 2 9 13 -4 7
Herentials 7 2 1 4 3 8 -5 7
Yadah FC 7 1 3 3 7 10 -3 6
Mutare City 7 1 2 4 7 10 -3 5
Bulawayo City 7 1 1 5 5 8 -3 4
Dynamos 7 0 3 4 4 8 -4 3
ZPC Kariba 7 0 3 4 2 9 -7 3