From Tobias Mandoreba in Hwange
A rampant Hwange tore a stubborn Masvingo United to pieces with a sizzling display in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match at the Colliery yesterday. The match was played under some extraordinary heat in the coal-mining town.
Chipangano want a dance in the African Safari next year and given the way they pushed relegation-threatened Masvingo to the relegation cliff, there is no doubt the coal embers are ready to blaze across the continent.
Yuna Yuna, however, were the first to settle yesterday as they knocked on the Hwange door as early as the second minute when Berven Chirere was denied by Petros Mhari from close-range.
Their double scorer Pervington Zimunya had another chance to grab the opener from a ferocious 8th minute free-kick which flew over the bar.
Hwange then came out with their guns blazing on the quarter hour mark when Gilbert Zulu and Rodwell Chinyengetere combined well deep inside the Masvingo half but defender Saprine Muchabaya heroically scooped Zulu’s effort to safety.
The coalminers started dictating the pace and they surged ahead in the 24th minute through double scorer David Borowondo who headed home a long free-kick from right back Tonisaniu Sibelo.
The miners continued to press forward and on the half hour mark the visitors’ hearts almost leapt out of their mouths after striker Tongai Mamina’s glancing header crashed against the left upright with Francis Tizayi a mere spectator.
Masvingo refused to be intimidated and pulled one back in the 36th minute when Zimunya fired the ball home from close-range after a connecting a pass from Chirere.
Before they had finished celebrating, Hwange’s midfield genius Nkosana Siwela proved why he deserves a place among the country’s best footballers this year when he latched on to a Zulu cross to power home a blistering left-foot volley which left Tizayi rooted to the spot.
On the stroke of half-time the lanky Borowondo proved he is lethal in the air when he jumped high to connect home a curling Munyaradzi Mungadze corner kick.
It could have been much worse for the visitors just after the breather but they escaped after Mamina and Zulu completely missed the ball after another lovely cross from Sibelo.
Sibelo almost gave Masvingo a lifeline in the 50th minute when he handled the ball in an attempt to clear, leaving Bulawayo-based referee Philani Ncube with no option than to point to the spot.
Up stepped Zimunya to send Mhari the wrong way to give the hosts a huge scare.
It all looked good for Masvingo as they started to knit around some good passes which revolved around Mushana High School pupil Tafadzwa Mahori, Walter Mukanga and substitute Isaac Chapura but all their hopes fizzled into the Hwange heat nine minutes from the end when Chinyengetere was brought down by a Masvingo defender as he went for the kill.
Again the penalty was clear as dawn and up stepped captain Gerald Ndlovu to send substitute goalie Talent Sande the wrong way.
Five minutes from the end Siwela spiced up a memorable afternoon when he banged home a Chinyengetere cross to leave the Hwange fans in a frenzy.
Hwange boss Tenant Chilumba was pleased with the win.
“I am very happy with the result and I am more gratified by the fact that it was team work which worked in our favour. I also tried to give everyone a chance to play,” he said.
P. Mhari, T. Sibelo, D. Borowondo, M. Mungadze, G. Ndhlovu, A. Tshuma, N. Siwela (M. Longwe 87th minute), A. Katebe, T. Mamina (M. Longwe 72nd minute), R. Chinyengetere, G. Zulu.
F. Tizayi (T. Sande 46th minute), A. Tazvivinga, P. Sinamayi, P. Chandisaita, S. Muchabaya, W. Mukanga, E. Dzumbunu, B. Mguni, P. Zimunya, B. Chirere (I. Chapara 64th minute),T. Mahori (C. Ganyata 75th minute).