By Ricky Zililo
Highlanders staged a dramatic comeback, scoring two goals inside 14 minutes to storm into the Chibuku Super Cup quarter-finals at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
Stung by an early second half goal struck by Yadah striker Simba Sithole in the 48th minute, Bosso overcame the visitors’ time wasting antics of feigning injuries.
Left-back Mbongeni Ndlovu equalised for Highlanders in the 72nd minute with a simple tap in, completing a move started by central defender Peter Muduhwa.
Newman Sianchali then grabbed the winner by finishing off another move engineered by Muduhwa in the 86th minute.
Muduhwa’s long pass was into Sianchali’s path by winger Gabriel Nyoni and the striker obliged with a left footed shot to beat Yadah goalkeeper Steven Chimusoro, sparking wild celebrations by Bosso fans, who had resigned themselves to a penalty shootout.
“We conceded just a few minutes after the break and I think a lapse in concentration on the part of the midfield and clumsy defending cost us.
“However, the comeback was marvellous despite the fact that we didn’t play the best football. The most important thing was to make our supporters happy,” said Madinda Ndlovu, the Highlanders coach.
Bosso created a number of scoring opportunities in the first half which they failed to convert.
Chimusoro was well positioned to save a third minute attempt by Nigel Makumbe and Denzel Khumalo’s 29th minute drive from the edge of the box.
Former Highlanders’ striker Ralph Matema failed to keep his 34th minute effort on target after doing well to shrug of his marker only to shoot over the bar.
Highlanders felt hard done by referee Philan Ncube, who denied them a penalty after striker Tafadzwa Sibanda was hacked down inside the box as he was going for the kill.
Yadah then shot ahead three minutes after the break; capitalising on loose defending by Bosso. Sithole was unlucky not to score a brace when his chip hit the crossbar with Highlanders’ goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda clearly beaten in the 54th minute.
Bosso right-back McClive Phiri watched in disbelief as his 66th minute header was cleared off the line as Bosso piled pressure on the visitors.
Yadah players resorted to feigning injuries in a desperate effort to break Highlanders’ momentum.
Coach Thomas Ruzive defended his players’ antics and blamed his defenders for switching off to concede at crucial times.
“At times football is very cruel; we did everything right, but my defenders went to sleep at a crucial stage,” said Ruzive.
Highlanders: Ariel Sibanda, McClive Phiri, Mbongeni Ndlovu, Tendai Ndlovu, Peter Muduhwa, Adrian Silla, Denzel Khumalo, Brian Banda (Newman Sianchali, 60th minute), Nigel Makumbe (Godfrey Makaruse, 60th minute), Gabriel Nyoni, Tafadzwa Sibanda
Yadah: Steven Chimusoro, Zvikomborero Bizeki, Brian Chikwenya, Arial Makopa, Byron Madzokere, Brian Mapfumo, Willard Kalongonda (Enock Karembo, 81st minute) Leeroy Murape, Leeroy Mavunga, Ralph Matema, Simbarashe Sithole (Johanis Sibanda, 61st minute). The Chronicle