Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
Highlanders 2-0 Whawha
A FIRST-HALF brace by defensive midfielder Nqobizitha Masuku was all that Highlanders needed to end a three-match winless streak and collect their first win of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
Masuku struck two beautiful long-range free-kicks that beat a hapless Whawha goalkeeper Alexander Useni. The defensive midfielder scored in the third minute when he stepped up to take the dead ball, three metres outside the box following a foul on striker Stanley Ngala.
Masuku completed his brace that ensured Bosso put the game to bed in the 30th minute from an almost similar spot, this time Whawha’s Terence Daka had brought down Highlanders’ midfielder Divine Mhindiria.
It was a victory that brought relief to Bosso coach Mandla Mpofu.
“This is a sweet victory. What is important is that we collected maximum points today and this is a big relief to me and the boys,” said Mpofu.
Bosso dominated the first-half, literally camping in Whawha’s half, but failed to turn that dominance into goals.
In the 12th minute Ray Lunga found himself in the box after being set through by Adrian Silla, but his curler went wide.
Three minutes later, new signing Ngala got to the end of an intelligent pass from Lunga, but the striker shot wide.
Lady luck seemed to have eluded Ngala in his debut match as he turned and shot at goal, beating the keeper only to be denied a goal by the upright in the 20th minute.
Five minutes before half-time, Ngala shied away from responsibility when he chose to play a square pass to Mhindirira instead of hitting the target.
The second-half saw Whawha playing purposeful football as they forced Bosso on the backfoot for a bit.
Whawha captain Edmore Muzanenhamo’s 62nd dipping shot hit the cross bar.
In the 66th minute, Ngala came one-on-one with Whawha goalie Useni, who was quick off his line to save his team.
Minutes later, Muzanenhamo did well to block Washington Navaya’s effort from the goal line.
With Whawha closing almost all the spaces, Bosso tried to catch them on breaks and it almost paid off had their forwards been clinical in front of goal. In the 77th minute, Navaya’s curler from the edge of the box went wide and five minutes later, following a good build-up, Andrew Mbeba sent in a perfect delivery that an unmarked Lynoth Chikuhwa hit, but the ball struck both uprights with the keeper beaten.
Despite Bosso piling on pressure, Whawha maintained composure with great interchange of passes in the midfield where Ronwell Matutu dictated pace, with King Utete and Evidence Mavanga suffocating the Bosso midfield.
“I think conceding from the two set pieces cost us the match. First-half we allowed them to play the ball, but we changed that in the second-half when we sent in two strikers and opened them up.
We were more composed in the second-half and I feel we should have done better other than enjoying possession,” said Luke Petros Jukulile, Whawha’s coach.
Highlanders: Ariel Sibanda, Crispen Ncube (Andrew Mbeba, 70th minute), Mbongeni Ndlovu, Peter Muduhwa, Andrew Tandi, Nqobizitha Masuku, Ray Lunga (Lynoth Chikuhwa, 24th minute), Adrian Silla, Rahman Kutsanzira (Washington Navaya, 46th minute), Stanley Ngala (Joel Ngodzo, 88th minute), Divine Mhindirira (Bukhosi Sibanda, 88th minute)
Whawha: Alexander Useni, Roy Useni, Terence Daka, Edmore Muzanenhamo, Justin gadzani, Nicholas Tshuma, Ronwell Matutu, Tafadzwa Jukulile, Xolani Ncube (King Utete, 64th minute), Raymond Horonga (Evidence Mavanga, 46th minute), Donald Madzinga (Bagio Shome, 84th minute)
Saturday: Chicken Inn 2-1 Bulawayo Chiefs, FC Platinum 0-0 Dynamos, Yadah 0-0 Black Rhinos
Yesterday: Highlanders 2-0 Whawha, Herentals 2-1 Manica Diamonds, Cranborne Bullets 0-0 ZPC Kariba, Tenax CS FC 2-0 Bulawayo City, Triangle United 0-0 Harare City
Today: Caps United v Ngezi Platinum Stars (National Sports Stadium)
Article Source: The Chronicle