By Ricky Zililo
Highlanders……………. (0) 1
Shabanie Mine………..(0) 0
A priceless 68th minute goal from Masimba Mambare allowed a wasteful Highlanders FC to collect maximum points from a disciplined Shabanie Mine in a Castle Lager Premiership match played at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
Mambare marked his return from injury in style scoring a beauty as he controlled a pass from Milton Ncube before unleashing a screamer from a tight angle which stunned Shabanie Mine goalkeeper Victor Twaliki.
Highlanders missed the former Motor Action linkman in their last league match against Chicken Inn as Mambare had picked up an injury a fortnight ago during Bosso’s 2-1 win over the Mighty Bulls.
Yesterday’s result kept Highlanders second on the log and they trail log leaders Dynamos who beat Motor Action 1-0 at Rufaro Stadium in Harare by two points. Bosso have gone for 22 games without losing and they have amassed 50 points.
Kelvin Kaindu, the Highlanders coach was happy with the result and yesterday showed his tactical aptitude using at least three formations in a bid to open a stubborn Shabanie Mine.
He had started the game with a 4-5-1 formation where Ozias Zibande was a lone striker, then changed to 4-4-2 where Milton Ncube came in as a second striker.
He then pulled out defender Lawson Nkomo and introduced attacking midfielder Peter “Rio” Moyo leaving skipper Innocent Mapuranga, impressive Eric Mudzingwa and Dumisani Nyoni as the three defenders.
There was a time when Mambare played as a rightback and the player did not disappoint.
The goal came as a result of many tactical changes and this was after Kaindu pulled out defensive midfielder Simon Munawa in the 54th minute for striker Beavan Chikaka and at that time they resorted to a 3-4-3 formation where Ncube, Zibande and Chikaka led the attack.
“We had anticipated that they will come here and attack but later we realised that Shabanie Mine were compact and were always at the back and we had no option but to pull out a defender and introduce Peter Moyo. That move gave us results as they started to open up and we got the goal,” said Kaindu.
Highlanders’ approach to yesterday’s game was better than their last encounters and they could have taken the lead within 30 seconds when Mthulisi Maphosa sent a long pass to Mambare on the right, who beat one man before sending a cross which Bhekimpilo Ncube headed to an unmarked Zibande who shot to the terraces with the goal yawning.
The home side kept piling pressure on the visitors with Mambare wreaking havoc on Shabanie Mine’s left wing and in the sixth minute Twaliki found his shot too hot to handle but there were no Highlanders’ takers for the rebound.
Shabanie Mine’s first attempt at goal was in the 20th minute when Philemon Mudena directed his freekick to an alert Bosso goalie, Ariel Sibanda. At the half-hour mark, another chance went begging for Highlanders when Bhekimpilo with ample time to pick his spot headed directly at Twaliki.
Highlanders should have taken the lead in the 31st minute when Munawa beat Twaliki but Shabanie Mine skipper Rodney Mware cleared the goal bound shot at the goal line.
Shabanie Mine looked content with defending but they were dangerous every time former Bosso players Francis Kanda and Tarisai Rukanda were in possession. Mudzingwa and Mapuranga kept the league’s top goalscorer Nelson Maziwisa under lock and key intercepting all passes meant for him.
After the break, the home team continued to bombard Shabanie Mine but they wasted their chances. In the 48th minute Milton set up Mambare in the box but the latter hit the side net.
After that Shabanie Mine launched quick counter attack and Kanda’s ferocious shot at goal was blocked for a corner by Mudzingwa.
Two minutes later Shabanie Mine should have taken the lead but Maziwisa chose to be selfish as he went for the target instead of passing the ball to a better positioned Rukanda who could have tapped the ball into an empty net.
Highlanders even resorted to long shots with Zibande forcing Twaliki to make numerous saves. There was nothing the tall Shabanie Mine goalkeeper could have done to stop Mambare’s 68th minute strike which ensured Bosso picked maximum points.
Shabanie Mine’s coach Luke Masomere conceded defeat but praised his boys for a good performance.
“It was a balanced game where Highlanders made use of their chance. They were disciplined and my boys also played well. Now we are going to regroup and focus on our game against Black Mambas,” said Masomere. The Chronicle
Highlanders: A Sibanda, L Nkomo (P Moyo, 46th minute), E Mudzingwa, I Mapuranga, D Ndlovu, M Maphosa, M Mambare, B Ncube (H Masuku, 66th minute), S Munawa (B Chikaka, 54th minute), O Zibande, M Ncube
Shabanie Mine: V Twaliki, R Sibanda, B Mbavarira (P Sithole 37th minute, K Kwashi 55th minute), F Kanda (C Masocha, 70th minute), E Phiri, T Rukanda, R Mware, N Maziwisa, S MUchabaya, T Mombeshora
Other results at a glance
Saturday: Black Mambas 1, Chicken Inn 1; Monomotapa 3, Hwange 0; FC Platinum 0, Caps United 2
Sunday: Hardbody 1, Gunners 1; Highlanders 1, Shabanie Mine 0; Dynamos 1, Motor Action 0; Blue Rangers 3, Quelaton 1; Buffaloes 0, Harare City 0