Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
Highlanders 2-0 Bulawayo City
HIGHLANDERS totally dominated their neighbours Bulawayo City in the opening Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match played before a good crowd at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
Bosso capped a perfect afternoon through two goals by young Prince Dube and midfielder Simon Munawa.
New signing Rodrick Mutuma could have registered his name on the scorer’s sheet, but was denied by an offside call by Harare-based referee Nomore Musundire after hitting the back of the net from a Dube sitter in the 58th minute.
Dube opened Bosso’s account in the 56th minute after cleverly rounding drawn out City goalkeeper Aron Ngwenya to slot home from left-back Honest Moyo’s through ball.
Highlanders went 2-0 up in the 65th minute through a first time hard and low shot by Munawa after being fed by Dube from the left flank.
Despite his selfishness and apparent poor attitude towards Mutuma, Dube played a blinder of a match yesterday.
“He is my man of the match,” said legendary former Zimbabwe Saints, AmaZulu, Dynamos and Zimbabwe Warriors midfield maestro Ronald “Gidiza” Sibanda, who was a pundit for our sister radio station Star FM for yesterday’s game.
Highlanders were clearly the better side with some nice passes from kick-off, although they seemed to fade away in the final third where City’s Zibusiso Sibanda and Nyasha Mukumbi held fort in central defence only to crumble in the second half.
Bosso were victims of a call by referee Musundire in the 18th minute, ruling out a Dube goal on the basis that Munawa had been fouled by former Hwange left-back Munyaradzi Mungadze, having seemingly given advantage play to the home side only to call the free kick just as Dube scored.
The Bulawayo giants were again asking questions in the 23rd minute, but this time Munawa’s shot was deflected for a corner. Brian Banda’s 35th minute screamer was well dealt with by goalie Ngwenya.
Highlanders continued to dominate City, who, however, kept their composure and shape, probably hoping to catch their opponents on the counter. The two teams were deadlocked 0-0 at half time.
Bosso were again the dominant force from the start of the second half and it was no surprise when they shot into the lead 11 minutes after resumption.
“We learnt the hard way, especially after losing concentration in the second half, but I am positive we will be able to pick ourselves up from this defeat. We held back for too long and it was only a matter of time before we collapsed,” said City coach Mandla Lulu Mpofu after the match.
An excited Highlanders’ coach Erol Akbay said the first three points of the season were key.
“We played well in the first half. Although we did not score, we totally dominated them but I was not happy with our show in the last 20 minutes,” said Akbay.
The Dutchman also thanked the supporters for coming out in their numbers.
“They were with us all the way; such support can only encourage us. They are happy and we are happy with the win too,” said Akbay.
Highlanders: Ariel Sibanda, Bukhosi Ncube ,Simon Munawa, Prince Dube, Brian Banda, Peter Muduhwa, Honest Moyo, Erick Mudzingwa, Rodrick Mutuma (Ralph Matema 76th min), Benson Phiri, Allen Gahadzikwa (Adrian Silla 69th min)
Unused Subs: King Nadolo, Tendai Ndlovu, Tendai Ngulube, Nhlanhla Ndlovu, Prosper Matutu
Bulawayo City: Aron Ngwenya, Morris Kadzola, Zibusiso Sibanda, Nyasha Mukumbi, Munyaradzi Mungadze, Kelvin Madzongwe, Eddie Nkulungo ( Mkhululi Moyo 63rd min), Trevor Ndlovu, Heritein Masuku (Rainsome Pavari 83rd min), Sipho Ndlovu, Mkhokheli Dube( Innocent Kutsanzira 63rd min)
Unused Subs: Zephania Ngodzo, Lindelani Ncube, Dingani Maposa, Liberty Chirava
Yesterday: Dynamos 0, FC Platinum 1; Highlanders 2, Bulawayo City 0; Shabanie Mine 0, CAPS United 0.
Saturday: Harare City 0, Yadah Stars 0; Ngezi Platinum 1, Black Rhinos 0; ZPC Kariba 1, How Mine 0; Chapungu 0, Triangle 0; Tsholotsho 0, Hwange 0.Chicken Inn 5, Bantu Rovers 0.