Ricky Zililo in Bulawayo
Highlanders . . . . . . .. . . 0
Triangle United . . . . . . (1) 1
TRIANGLE United broke a six-year jinx to register their first Castle Lager Premier Soccer League win over troubled Highlanders at Barbourfields through a first half goal by striker Nyasha Chintuli yesterday.
Since making their Premiership debut in 2013, Triangle had never won a league match at Barbourfields where they had played six games prior to yesterday’s clash.
Bosso won three of those clashes and drew three.
The Sugar Sugar Boys defied the odds and piled more misery on Highlanders, who remain winless in four league games.
Chintuli struck in the 27th minute to silence thousands of Bosso fans after capitalising on a defensive mix-up between Bosso goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda and central defenders Peter Muduhwa and Tendai Ndlovu.
He took advantage of the hesitation by the central defenders to clear the ball by lofting his effort over Sibanda, who had needlessly moved off his line when he had no chance of ever reaching the ball.
The goal came after Highlanders had missed two glorious opportunities, first in the 10th minute when Bukhosi Sibanda reacted slowly and the ball was swept away from his feet after being set through by Godfrey Makaruse.
Makaruse then missed a sitter, poking the ball wide with only goalkeeper Chang Mariyoni to beat.
Unlike Highlanders who looked comfortable passing the ball inside their own half, Triangle were direct in their play, with wingers Gerald Bero and Timothy January lively in attack.
After taking the lead, Triangle protected their goal area and could have further punished Bosso had they been clinical, as the home team were constantly caught out on the counter raids while searching for the equaliser.
Highlanders’ coach Madinda Ndlovu admitted that it wasn’t their day after seeing his charges missing two other glorious scoring opportunities in the second half.
Mariyoni produced a stunning save to block a Ray Lunga one-on-one attempt after some beautiful build-up in the 61st minute.
Inside the last 10 minutes, Highlanders went on the attack with four players, Brian Banda, Prince Dube, Ray Lunga and Tinashe Makanda facing two Triangle players, including Mariyoni, but Banda horrendously shot wide.
“It wasn’t our day and we have to accept and move on. We applied all the principles of football, but it was clearly not our day. We created scoring chances,” said Ndlovu.
Triangle coach Taurai Mangwiro was happy with his team’s performance.
“I’m happy that after many attempts with different teams, I’ve finally managed to get maximum points against Highlanders here at Barbourfields. It was a game where I told my players to take the game to Highlanders because it was going to be difficult to come back after conceding.
“We managed to control the game and defend our goal even when Highlanders attacked us. I think Highlanders were vulnerable, especially when they were searching for a goal and that was the time we should have killed off the game,” said Mangwiro.
The win took Triangle to seven points, three behind leaders and defending champions FC Platinum.
Highlanders: Ariel Sibanda, Bukhosi Ncube (Andrew Mbeba, 17th minute), Mbekezeli Sibanda, Peter Mudhuwa, Tendai Ndlovu, Nqobizitha Masuku, Ray Lunga, Adrian Silla (Brian Banda, 58th minute), Tinashe Makanda, Bukhosi Sibanda, Godfrey Makaruse (Prince Dube, 50th minute)
Triangle United: Chang Mariyoni, Praise Tonha, Arnorld Chiveya, Donald Dzvinyai, Kudzai Chigwida, Ralph Kawondera, Pasca Manhanga (Donald Mudadi, 68th minute), Gerald Bero, Timothy January, Nyasha Chintuli (Simba Makoni, 68th minute), Collin Dhuwa (Tyler Mugoniwa, 87th minute)