Motor Action cruise past Bosso at Barbourfields
By Ricky Zililo
Highlanders 0……………..Motor Action 2
Bulawayo — HIGHLANDERS succumbed to their first home defeat to defending champions Motor Action in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match at Barbourfields on Sunday.
The Mighty Bulls outclassed Highlanders in all departments and Masimba Mambare put the visitors ahead in the 34th minute with man-of-the-match Kudakwashe Ma-sharu putting the game beyond the reach of Bosso in the 62nd minute.
Joey Antipas’ champions retained top spot and took their tally to 24 points, four ahead of FC Platinum and Bosso who slipped from second into third place.
Motor Action could have taken the lead as early as the third minute when Mambare dispossessed Misheck Mburayi just outside the box but the former hurried his shot and it did not trouble Lovemore Makwawarara in goal for Highlanders.
The champions were more organised with the ball and their players seemed hungrier for success as they totally outclassed the Bulawayo giants. Bosso players were no match for the visitors and Highlanders’ gaffer Mkhuphali Masuku conceded defeat and reckoned that they had said they lost to a better side.
“We lost to a better side and it was difficult for us to win the game when seven of our players were clearly out of the game. We really wanted to play to win the game but it was just not our day,” said Masuku.
Highlanders clearly lacked urgency and creativity in midfield where Motor Action’s Allan Gahadzikwa, Thembani Masuku, Mambare, Gift Phiri and Musharu dominated and gave them little room to manouvre.
Even the return of their top scorer Njabulo ‘Tshiki’ Ncube from suspension failed to inspire the home team as the stocky striker was kept under lock and key by Themba Ndlovu who stood firm in the Mighty Bulls’ central defence. Ncube was out of the game as he failed, on most occasions, to control the ball.
His partner Vincent Nzombe was one of the few players in the Highlanders side who fought for every ball though his teammates let him down dearly. Thembani nearly beat Makwawarara from a free kick taken from outside the box forcing the Highlanders goalkeeper to punch the ball out for corner. After that Motor Action literally camped in Highlanders half but could not find the opener.
Highlanders could have been the first to score after Njabulo Ncube failed to beat veteran goalkeeper Marlon Jani from the penalty spot in the 30th minute after Machaga had used his hand to block a Nzombe shot. Referee Lawrence Magada who handled the match well pointed to the penalty spot and the in-form Jani dived to his right to deny Ncube his sixth goal of the season.
Four minutes later Mambare had the easiest task of slotting the ball home for Motor Action after getting on the end of a cross from Musharu, who had dribbled past three Highlanders players. There was nothing Makwawarara could have done.
Five minutes before the break the robust Tawanda Nyamandwe could have made it two for the visitors but failed to keep his header on target after getting to the end of a Musharu cross from the right.
Highlanders returned from the breather searching for an equaliser and they were almost rewarded in the 53rd minute when Lawson Nkomo sent in an in swinger, which Ncube headed but an alert Jani, who has only been beaten three times in 11 matches, saved the effort. By then, it was clear that it was not going to be Highlanders’ day.
Motor Action sat back for sometime with the intention of getting Bosso on the counter attack with Nyamandwe playing as a lone striker. Musharu then made it two for the visitors when he ran into the box to head home the winner after Godfrey Moyo had had sent in a perfect cross from a corner kick that was conceded by Highlanders skipper Gilbert Banda.
Bosso tried to come back into the game but found Motor Action a hard nut to crack. It could have been three for the Mighty Bulls at the death but Edmore Chitato failed to beat Makwawarara from close range after ghosting in from the blind side. Antipas praised his boys for a disciplined performance.
“Our game plan was to choke Highlanders in the midfield and get them on counter attacks and I am happy that the boys did just that and we managed to collect maximum points. Highlanders played well but unfortunately they could not match us today. On defending the title, it is too early to say because there is long way to go before the season ends,” said Antipas.
L Makwawarara, L Nkomo, G Banda, I Mapuranga, B Tshuma, E Mudzingwa, A Tshuma, L Matawu, M Mburayi (S Munawa 46th minute), N Ncube (B Ndlovu (75th minute), V Nzombe
M Jani, R Machaga, K Musharu, M Mambare (M Ncube 77th minute), O Mushure (E Chitato 85th minute), G Moyo, T Ndlovu, T Nyamandwe, A Gahadzikwa, G Phiri, T Masuku
Results at glance
Kiglon 1, CAPS United 5; Monomotapa 3, Black Mambas 0;
FC Platinum 1, Zimbabwe Saints 0; Highlanders 0, Motor Action 2; Masvingo 3, Blue Ribbon 0; Dynamos 1, Shooting Stars 0; Hwange 2, Chicken Inn 0