Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
Highlanders 3 – 2 ZPC Kariba
TWO quick-fire second half goals by Allen Gahadzikwa and Prince Dube turned the game around to give Highlanders maximum points and only their second victory over ZPC Kariba from seven meetings in the Castle Lager Premiership.
ZPC Kariba were promoted to the Premiership in 2014 and have been Bosso’s bogey side, winning four out of their seven meetings, losing twice and drawing once.
Gahadzikwa’s 48th minute header off Dube’s cross from the left cancelled the visitors’ 17th minute beauty struck with aplomb by Daniel Chakupe from 20 metres out.
Chakupe’s volley, an early contender for goal of the year, silenced the home team’s supporters.
A clearance from Raphael Manuvire’s corner went straight to Chakupe, who responded with a first time volley through a number of players and past a diving Bosso keeper Ariel Sibanda.
A minute after Gahadzikwa’s header, Highlanders extended their lead through Dube, who rounded goalkeeper Tendai Hove following a quick counter attack initiated by goalie Sibanda and Roderick Mutuma.
ZPC Kariba equalised in the 70th minute through substitute Tawanda Nyamandwe a minute after coming in for Chakupe.
Godfrey Makaruse, who was returning from a long injury layoff, capitalised from some sloppy defending to control a Rahman Kutsanzira cross from the left, shrugged off central defender Arnold Chiveya and blasted a rising shot past Hove in the 82nd minute.
ZPC Kariba coach Sunday Chidzambwa said they paid dearly for questionable defending and missing a number of first half chances.
“Personally I feel we just threw the game away and conceded soft goals. We simply lost it in central defence. Football is a contact sport and I feel my central defenders need to be strong because you saw how one was easily pushed by Prince Dube on his way to scoring the second goal. Again, my central defenders were ball watching when Highlanders scored their third goal. However, on the positives, I liked our fighting spirit,” said Chidzambwa.
Led by big striker Francesco Zekumbawire and Talent Chamboko, the visitors failed to make use of quick breaks and allowed Highlanders to reorganise.
Kutsanzira, who was also returning from a month-long injury layoff, twice tried his luck from outside the box, forcing keeper Hove to tip the ball to safety.
Whatever Bosso coach Erol Akbay told his players at halftime worked as they returned with more urgency and precision they lacked in the first half.
“Traditionally Highlanders are known to attack in the first 15 minutes of each half and we did well to stop them in the first half, but we went to sleep after halftime conceding two quick goals,” said Chidzambwa.
Akbay said the slippery surface worked in their favour.
“We knew they will want to defend and we had to push them back. Again, the ball speed was high because of the rain and we were quick. I’m happy with the goals, I’m happy with the win.”
Highlanders: Ariel Sibanda, Benson Phiri, Honest Moyo, Tendai Ndlovu, Peter Muduhwa, Tendai Ngulube, Simon Munawa (King Nadolo, 79th minute), Allen Gahadzikwa, Rahman Kutsanzira (Brian Banda, 88th minute), Prince Dube, Rodrick Mutuma (Godfrey Makaruse, 63rd minute)
Unused substitutes: Charlton Siamalonga, Nkosana Ndlovu, Nhlanhla Ndlovu, Prosper Matutu
ZPC Kariba: Tendai Hove, Bornface Zuberi (Boyd Mutukure, 85th minute), Munyaradzi Kunyarimwe, Arnold Chiveya, Sylvester Appiah, Tawanda Munyanduri, Daniel Chakupe (Tawanda Nyamandwe, 69th minute), Never Tigere, Talent Chamboko, Raphael Manuvire, Francesco Zekumbawire (Professor Wadyajena, 90th minute)
Unused substitutes: Dexter Phiri, Blessing Nyamuzihwa, Elisha Nechiturike, Talent Mandizadza
Match Day Four Results
Friday: Black Rhinos 3-0 Bantu Rovers
Saturday: Bulawayo City 1-1 FC Platinum, How Mine 2-1 Chapungu, Yadah FC 1-0 Ngezi Platinum
Yesterday: Triangle United 0-1 Chicken Inn, Hwange 0-1 Dynamos, Caps United 1-1 Tsholotsho FC, Highlanders 3-2 ZPC Kariba, Shabanie Mine 0-0 Harare City