Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
Highlanders 1-0 Bulawayo Chiefs
SHEER individual brilliance by man-of-the-match, Highlanders midfielder Divine Mhindirira who scored in the 37th minute against Bulawayo Chiefs, earned Bosso maximum points and moved them up the table to position four from five.
Mhindirira made a quick turn to deceive a Chiefs player, charged towards the box before unleashing a ferocious shot with his left foot, beating a diving Ninja’s goalkeeper David Bizabani. The perfect goal was an icing on the cake as Mhindirira had been a thorn in the flesh for the Chiefs players who struggled to contain Highlanders’ attacking midfielder.
The victory took Highlanders’ points tally to 49 after 38 games, dislodging Ngezi Platinum Stars who are on 48 points following Saturday’s 0-0 draw against Black Rhinos.
Highlanders, who enjoyed superior ball possession in the first half squandered countless scoring opportunities in the opening stanza, with Nqobizitha Masuku coming close in the 12th minute but shot over the bar inside the penalty area.
Two minutes later, Highlanders striker Stanley Ngala failed to keep his header on target off a brilliant cheeky chip by Mhindirira who spotted the forward making a run from the blindside.
Chiefs’ first attempt at goal came at the half-hour mark when Highlanders’ goalkeeper Raphael Pitisi, who was standing in for an injured Ariel Sibanda miscued with the ball falling to Mthokozisi Msebe who shot straight at the Bosso shot stopper.
Highlanders piled pressure on Chiefs who went into yesterday’s match having trained once as players demanded outstanding salaries and allowances, but the latter held on until Mhindirira’s 37th minute piece of magic.
Two minutes into the second half, Pitisi produced a brilliant save to deny Chiefs an equaliser as Bosso’s opponents threw more men into the box.
Chiefs striker Obriel Chirinda almost equalised in the 67th minute when he outpaced his marker before chipping the ball into an advancing Pitisi who had narrowed the angle but his attempt missed the target by inches.
Two minutes later, Highlanders launched an attack with Mhindirira beating his marker on the right as he went on to send a cross into the box which Bosso striker Lynoth Chikuhwa failed to connect.
The second half belonged to Chiefs and with a bit of luck and perfect execution, they could have gone home with a draw but they lacked the killer punch.
Chiefs squandered an opportunity to draw level when Farau Matare broke on the left but his final delivery intended for Chirinda was collected by Pitisi in the 80th minute.
Joel Luphahla, the Highlanders assistant said the victory was a boost.
“It’s a big win for us and it took us into position four which we want to consolidate. We want to finish higher than where we are so this win will go a long way to motivate the boys.
“It was a difficult game coming from a week’s break, but the boys did a good job to secure the points,” Luphahla said.
Chiefs’ assistant coach Thulani Sibanda was pleased with the “gallant” fight by his boys.
“First half was 50-50, but in the second half we dominated and created good chances which we failed to turn in. Overall, it was a good game of football by the lads who fought hard,” said Sibanda.
Highlanders: Raphael Pitisi, Andrew Mbeba, Archiford Faira (Godfrey Makaruse, 72nd minute), Mbongeni Ndlovu (Crispen Ncube, 22nd minute), Peter Muduhwa, Nqobizitha Masuku (Mason Mushore, 46th minute), Darlington Mukuli, Divine Mhindirira, Stanley Ngala (Washington Navaya, 72nd minute), Lynoth Chikuhwa, Ray Lunga (Rahman Kutsanzira, 59th minute)
Bulawayo Chiefs: David Bizabani, MacClive Phiri, Panashe Shoko, Ben Nyahunzwi, Felix Moyo, Lucky Ndlela, Mthokozisi Msebe, Mandlenkosi Gisela (Farau Matare, 46th minute), Dela Akorli (Obriel Chirinda, 46th minute), Billy Veremu (Anesu Jaravaza, 85th minute), Arthur Musiyiwa (Wilson Mensah, 73rd minute)
Article Source: The Chronicle