FC Platinum ………… 0
Highlanders ………(2) 3
HIGHLANDERS are now barely recognisable as the team that once flirted against relegation in the first half of the season.
And, their new Dutch coach Henrick Pieter de Jongh, has been waving some magic.
Yesterday the resurgent Bulawayo giants turned on a breathtaking show to blow away the league champions in a Chibuku Super Cup quarter-final contest at Barbourfields.
Bosso fans were taken down memory lane to a time when visiting teams found it hard to come out of Barbourfields with something positive.
And what better way, to relive those good old days, than thrashing FC Platinum, who have dominated domestic football for two seasons in a row, and are still in contention for a hat-trick of league titles.
An opening goal from Prince Dube and two well-taken goals by Denzel Khumalo in the 27th minute and Tinashe Makanda’s 88th minute strike powered Bosso to victory.
Khumalo, who had seemingly lost his way under Madinda Ndlovu and Mandla Mpofu, looks a completely different player altogether under de Jongh.
The diminutive Khumalo, who was used as a striker yesterday, controlled the ball off a rebound with his right foot, lifted his head, spotted FC Platinum goalkeeper Wallace Magalane out of position.
He then unleashed a left-footed curler into the top corner of the net, sending Highlanders’ fans into ecstasy.
Dube, scorer of the solitary goal that ditched Dynamos out of the tournament in the first round, had shot Bosso into the lead after converting a ninth minute penalty.
FC Platinum defender, Lawrence Mhlanga, had handled the ball inside the box in an effort to clear right-back McClive Phiri’s hard-and-low cross from the right-side and referee Arnold Ncube pointed to the spot despite protests by the platinum miners.
Dube stepped up and sent Magalane the wrong way.
Bosso controlled the entire first half and could have scored more goals had they not been wasteful in front of goal.
FC Platinum returned from the half-time break a transformed side but they just couldn’t unlock the Bosso rearguard.
Makanda snuffed out any slim hopes the Zvishavane side had of coming back from the behind with a tap-in in the 87th minute.
Dube initiated a counter-attack from the left side by riding several tackles before releasing the ball to Brian Banda, who sold the FC Platinum defence a dummy and immaculately laid the ball onto Makanda’s path for a simple slot past the advancing goalkeeper.
Makanda’s strike compensated for a dull second half, which had little goalmouth action.
The comfortable victory against the platinum miners brought joy to Highlanders’ fans, who burst into song and dance and took their party into the city centre.
“I’m happy with the win. We had an excellent first half where we got two goals from the penalty spot and that very beautiful goal by Denzel,’’ said De Jongh.
“The second half was a little bit difficult because the opponents played risky football, as they tried to come back into the game, but we were tactically good.”
FC Platinum coach, Lizwe Sweswe, said it was a disappointing result for his men.
“Obviously, we’re disappointed that we lost, but we controlled the game well, especially in the second half,’’ he said.
“The early goal we conceded took us off the rails, but as the game went on, we managed to come back after making some tactical changes.
“We came here wanting to get to the final of the tournament but, well, now we have to concentrate on the league and the CAF Champions League.
“Congratulations to Highlanders.”