Ricky Zililo in BULAWAYO
Shabanie Mine………………….(0) 1
FORGOTTEN 2012 Premiership Golden Boot winner Nelson Maziwisa’s scored seven minutes from time as Premiership returnees Shabanie Mine stunned favourites Highlanders in a drama-filled encounter at Barbourfields yesterday.
Maziwisa, scorer of 18 goals in 2012, connected a Joe Nyabinde cross from the right to beat a diving Highlanders’ goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda, eight minutes after Bosso skipper Erick Mudzingwa had been sent off by Gweru-based referee Thomas Masaa for dissent.
Mudzingwa was first yellow carded for protesting a refereeing decision that had gone against impressive young Highlanders’ midfielder Brian Banda, who seemed to have been fouled by Shabanie’s Trevor Mavhunga.
An angry Mudzingwa walked away throwing a fit at Masaa who summoned him back and showed him a second yellow.
When Mudzingwa was sent off, Highlanders appeared to be in control of the game and they struggled to adjust after going a man down.
Mudzingwa’s ejection proved to be the game’s turning point, as Shabanie used their numerical advantage to force Highlanders onto the back foot.
Masaa was to flash another red to Shabanie’s Lloyd Manyande in the 85th minute for time wasting. Manyande had earlier been booked for a foul on Mudzingwa.
Shabanie, who had a brilliant first half, held on to the lead, giving their departing coach Wilson Mutekede a perfect farewell as he now assumes the ZIFA technical director’s position.
“I’m happy that we managed to get four points in our opening two games. We had a good game, especially in the first half where we could have buried about four chances, but we were wasteful. Second half we had to calm the boys’ nerves, with the turning point being when Highlanders were given a red card. At that point the game evened up and the boys began to believe that we could win the game and we got the goal,” said Mutekede.
It was a deserved victory for Shabanie, who went pound for pound with Bosso.
The Zvishavane side were unlucky not to take an early lead in the second minute when the cross bar denied Maziwisa with Sibanda cleanly beaten.
Maziwisa coolly controlled a cross from Collin Duhwa, but his shot hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced back into play before Highlanders cleared their lines. Maziwisa, Duhwa, Farai Mupasiri and Charles Makoto were first on the ball and gave Highlanders a torrid time in the early stages of the match.
Bosso’s first chance fell to Rodrick Mutuma in the 19th minute, but he went for the kill with his weaker left foot and Shabanie goalkeeper Samuel Mafukidze tipped the ball over for a corner.
Two minutes later, Mutuma blew a golden opportunity, shying away from responsibility by trying to pass the ball to Prince Dube instead of going for goal.
Bosso goalkeeper Sibanda pulled off a reflex save from an equally good attempt by Mupasiri, who had beaten his marker. Mupasiri shot ferociously at goal and Sibanda tipped the ball around the upright. Highlanders were left hard done by a bogus offside call by first assistant referee Thomas Kusosa, denying Mutuma a genuine goal.
Highlanders’ coach Erol Akbay said: “We played some good football, but failed to score. We lacked the final pass and the red card affected our tactical plans.”
Highlanders: Ariel Sibanda, Tendai Ngulube (Ralph Matema, 84th minute), Honest Moyo, Benson Phiri, Peter Muduhwa, Erick Mudzingwa, Simon Munawa, brian banda, Allan Gahadzikwa (T. Ndlovu, 80th min), Prince Dube, Rodrick Mutuma
Shabanie Mine: Samuel Mapfukudze, Admire Dzumbunu, William mapfumo, Charles Makoto (Joe Nyabinde, 61st minute), Farai Mupasiri (Wellington Taderera, 69th minute), Trevor Mavhunga, Collin Dhuwa, Ereah Phiri (Tinashe Mupumha, 46th minute), Nelson Maziwisa, Nyasha Mpofu, Lloyd Manyande