Thupeyo Muleya in Beitbridge
Tsholotsho FC 1-2 Highlanders
NICKNAMED “The Prince” and playing alongside the real Prince, it took Rodrick Mutuma 322 minutes of Castle Lager Premiership football to open his scoring account for Highlanders and propel the Bulawayo giants to a 2-1 win over Tsholotsho at Dulivhadzimu Stadium yesterday.
The lanky former Dynamos forward has been the focal point at Bosso with telling performances, but goals continued to elude him until the 52nd minute of yesterday’s encounter when he rifled home from an acute angle to give Highlanders a 2-0 lead over Tsholotsho, who had not lost a league match going into yesterday’s tie.
It took exactly 229 minutes of play for a goal to be scored at Dulivhadzimu Stadium since Tsholotsho moved base from Bulawayo to the border town of Beitbridge.
Prince Dube gave Bosso the lead in the 49th minute and Mutuma doubled their lead three minutes later before Lucky Nyathi reduced arrears in the 65th minute.
Prior to yesterday’s match, Tsholotsho had played two goalless draws against Hwange and Yadah FC.
Although the match started on a high note, with both teams looking for the early goal, nothing really materialised in the first half until Bosso’s three minutes two-goal blitz to collect maximum points.
Dube was the first to react to a rebound from a set piece and sent a powerful shot into the net in the 49th minute.
Mutuma opened his Bosso goal account three minutes later when he beat defender Godfrey Mukambi and unleashed a powerful shot past the goalkeeper.
Tsholotsho pulled one back through Nyathi, who took advantage of Bosso’s complacency soon after the introduction of King Nadolo for the industrious Allen Gahadzikwa.
Nyathi was set up by Canaan Nkomo in the visitors’ box and responded by converting to give the home side hope of rescuing a point. Tsholotsho went all out in search of an equaliser, but the Bosso rearguard marshalled by Peter Madhuwa stood firm.
Mutuma said he was happy to have scored, but complained that referee Arnold Ncube had wrongly cautioned him.
“The other player should have been shown a red card, but unfortunately I was the victim,” said Mutuma.
Highlanders coach Erol Akbay was mobbed by his team’s jubilant fans after the final whistle.
Akbay said his strikers had wasted a lot of chances.
“It’s OK we have managed to collect three points, but my boys wasted a lot of chances. We could have sealed the match in the first half. However, we played good football and need to keep up the momentum,” said Akbay.
“Our hosts gave us a good fight in all departments. They were coming all out at us. You will note that they kept fighting and capitalised on our mistakes and scored one goal,” he said.
Tsholotsho coach Farai Tawachera said although they lost, they had played well.
“Considering that we are coming from another tough game against Caps United, we played our hearts out and matched our opponents man-to-man,” said Tawachera.
“This was anyone’s game and unfortunately Highlanders won. We will stick to our type of play when we face Shabanie on Sunday. I am confident that we will get good results,” he said.
He also commended Beitbridge residents for supporting the team in their numbers