Substitute Vince Mhandu scored as Black Rhinos got back to winning ways with a hard-fought victory over bottom side Bulawayo Chiefs at the National Sports Stadium yesterday.
Bulawayo Chiefs, who put up an impressive defensive display, were punished 20 minutes into the second half as Mhandu finished off a rebound after David Bizabani had saved Moses Demera’s initial header.
With the win, Black Rhinos jumped four places up the ladder to seventh place, as they put the shock weekend defeat to Mushowani Stars behind them.
Coach Herbert Maruwa was a relieved man.
“It was a good show from the boys. They did very well. After the defeat to Mushowani, we had to change the team and bring in new guys and it helped us get the three points,” he said.
Bulawayo Chiefs were looking to replicate the vintage defensive performance that saw them earn their first point of the season on Saturday.
They had the best chance of the cagey first half, with Moses Majika missing the target after coming face-to-face with the goalkeeper.
But the home side dominated possession and came close to scoring through a Tapiwa Sibanda freekick, which Bizabani fumbled and gathered at the second attempt.
Demera had a golden opportunity to give the hosts the lead, getting to the end of Sibanda’s inviting cross, but he headed wide just before the hour mark.
Mhandu, introduced in the 55th minute, then gave the hosts the lead just 10 minutes after his introduction, bundling home from a rebound.
Chiefs, who were in ultra defensive mode for the better part of the afternoon, came out of their cocoon in search of an equaliser, but to no avail.
But they had a penalty shout waved away by the referee deep into stoppage time.
“It was a tight game. We missed our own chance in the first half, one-on-one with the goalkeeper. If we had utilised it, we would be talking about something else. They got their chance in the second half and they punched us,” Bulawayo Chiefs coach Farai Tawachera said after the match.
Black Rhinos: B Mandimutsira, T Jaravani, F Banda, B Homora, T Sibanda, G Saunyama, M Mambare (V Mhandu 57’), W Taderera, M Demera (W Kapinda 83’), L Murape, A Gahadzikwa
Bulawayo Chiefs: D Bizabani, S Nyahwa, P Sibanda (F Matare 55’), M Mkolo, S Dube, T Muzuva, A Musiyiwa, H Zvakavapano, M Bhebhe, S Mhlanga, M Majika (T Chideu 70’)