Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
Highlanders 3-0 Dynamos
HIGHLANDERS fans finally found something to smile about 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 Stadium yesterday.
The epic encounter, which was postponed twice; first on July 29 due to the country’s harmonised elections, and on August 5 when the two sides contested the President Emmerson Mnangagwa Inauguration Cup, was worth the wait for Bosso fans, who witnessed their team run riot over their troubled rivals.
Playing in front of a near capacity crowd, Highlanders 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 topflight to head home a Makumbe corner to 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 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 in the 93rd minute, 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 alike will savour until the two sides meet next season.
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,” he said.
Dynamos should have equalised in the 16th minute, but striker Kudakwashe Kumwala made a meal of a perfect scoring opportunity by shooting wide from close range in a one-on-one situation with Highlanders’ keeper Ariel Sibanda. DeMbare’s right-back Peace Makaha forced a fine save by 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: Ariel Sibanda, McClive Phiri, Mbongeni Ndlovu, Tendai Ndlovu, Peter Muduhwa, Adrian Silla, Gabriel Nyoni, Denzel Khumalo, Tafadzwa Sibanda, Brian Banda, Nigel Makumbe (Newman Sianchali, 79th minute)
Dynamos: Simbarashe Chinani, Peace Makaha, Ocean Mushure, Phakamani Dube, Jimmy Tigere, Blessing Moyo, Gift Saunyama, Marvelous Mukumba (Bret Amidu, 54th minute), Kudakwashe Kumwala, Quality Kangadzi (Emmanuel Mandiranga, 63rd minute), Denver Mukamba (Panashe Mutasa, 76th minute) — @ZililoR