TWO quick-fire second half goals by Allen Gahadzikwa and Prince Dube turned the game on its hand to give Highlanders maximum points and only their second victory over ZPC Kariba from seven meetings in the Castle Lager Premiership.
ZPC Kariba, were promoted to the to-flight league in 2014, have been Bosso’s bogey side after winning four of their seven meetings, losing twice and drawing once.
Gahadzikwa’s 48th minute header, off Dube’s cross from the left, cancelled the visitors’ 17th minute beauty struck with aplomb by Daniel Chakupe from 20 metres out.
Chakupe’s volley, an early contender for Goal of the Year, silenced the home team’s supporters.
A clearance from Raphael Manuvire’s corner went straight to Chakupe, who responded with a first time volley that beat a diving Bosso keeper Ariel Sibanda.
A minute after Gahadzikwa’s header, Highlanders extended their lead through Dube, who rounded goalkeeper Tendai Hove following a quick counter attack initiated by goalie Sibanda and Rodreck Mutuma.
ZPC Kariba equalised in the 70th minute through substitute Tawanda Nyamandwe a minute after coming in for Chakupe.
Godfrey Makaruse, who was returning from a long injury lay-off, capitalised on some sloppy defending to control a Rahman Kutsanzira cross from the left, shrugged off central defender Arnold Chiveya and blasted a rising shot past Hove in the 82nd minute.
ZPC Kariba coach Sunday Chidzambwa said they paid dearly for questionable defending and missing a number of first half chances.
“Personally I feel we just threw the game away and conceded soft goals. We simply lost it in central defence. Football is a contact sport and I feel my central defenders need to be strong because you saw how one was easily pushed by Prince Dube on his way to scoring the second goal.
“Again, my central defenders were ball watching when Highlanders scored their third goal. However, on the positives, I liked our fighting spirit,” said Chidzambwa.
Led by big striker Francesco Zekumbawire and Talent Chamboko, the visitors failed to make use of quick breaks and allowed Highlanders to reorganise.
Rahman Kutsanzira, who was also returning from a month-long injury lay-off, twice tried his luck from outside the box, forcing keeper Hove to tip the ball to safety. Whatever Bosso coach Erol Akbay told his players at half-time worked as they returned with more urgency and precision they lacked in the first half.
“Traditionally Highlanders are known to attack in the first 15 minutes of each half and we did well to stop them in the first half, but we went to sleep after half-time conceding two quick goals,” said Chidzambwa.
Akbay said the slippery surface worked in their favour.
“We knew they would want to defend and we had to push them back. Again, the ball speed was high because of the rain and we were quick. I’m happy with the goals, I’m happy with the win.”
Highlanders: A.Sibanda, B.Phiri, H.Moyo, T. Ndlovu, P. Muduhwa, T. Ngulube, S. Munawa (K. Nadolo, 79th min), A. Gahadzikwa, R. Kutsanzira (B. Banda, 88th min), P. Dube, R. Mutuma (G. Makaruse, 63rd min)
ZPC Kariba: T. Hove, B. Zuberi (B. Mutukure, 85th min), M. Kunyarimwe, A. Chiveya, S. Appiah, T. Munyanduri, D. Chakupe (T. Nyamandwe, 69th minute), N. Tigere, T. Chamboko, R. Manuvire, F. Zekumbawire (P. Wadyajena, 90th min)