Highlanders 2-1 Mutare City Rovers
Ralph Matema rose from the bench to score Highlanders’ winner for a second consecutive week as Bosso saw off visiting Mutare City Rovers to advance to the quarter-finals of the Chibuku Super Cup at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
With both teams tied at 1-1, Matema, who replaced the ineffective Allen Gahadzikwa in the 61st minute, scored the winner in the 79th minute when he beat Mutare City Rovers’ goalkeeper Philip Nhete at the near post.
Matema, who scored Highlanders’ winner in the 2-1 league victory over Dynamos last week, did justice to Bosso’s build up to the second goal by connecting a Prince Dube cross from the right.
Highlanders had taken the lead four minutes into stoppage time through a classic own goal by Munyaradzi Sako, who beat Nhete in a desperate attempt to block a hard and low cross delivered by Dube.
However, a blunder by Highlanders’ left-back Honest Moyo, who failed to control a simple pass in the 47th minute, gifted Mutare City Rovers the equaliser. Collen Muzavazi reacted quickly to collect the loose ball and fed Agrippa Murimba, who easily beat drawn out Highlanders’ goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda.
Bosso could have won the game by a wider margin had they not fluffed five clear-cut chances, three in the first half and two in the second.
Bosso players were seemingly affected by Mutare City Rovers’ mind games involving suspected juju. The home team’s players kept going to “remove things” from goalkeeper Nhete’s goal area.
Nhete’s antics of “planting something” in his goal area agitated Bosso fans in the Soweto stand, who reacted by throwing bottles with urine whenever their players missed clear cut chances.
Bosso midfielder Simon Munawa produced the miss of the day in the 25th minute when he ran into the box to meet a good delivery by Moyo from the left, only for him to unbelievably head over bar with Nhete stranded.
Six minutes later, Dube sneaked behind Mutare City defenders, but also headed wide, convincing Bosso fans that some juju had been planted in the goal area.
In the 32nd minute, Gahadzikwa beat two markers, passed to Dube on the wide side, who returned the favour with a delicate cross that Gahadzikwa also directed off target.
Mutare City rarely troubled Highlanders in the first half, but a member of their technical team was involved in a fracas with a Bosso marshal, resulting in police intervention. The visitors’ official ran towards Nhete’s goal area, but the marshal stopped him, suspecting that he was taking some juju.
However, the first half injury time goal for Highlanders calmed the fans’ nerves. Their lead only lasted two minutes into the second half as the visitors equalised.
A lapse in concentration by Moyo saw Mutare City making a quick counter attack to score.
The visitors’ game plan was to absorb pressure from Highlanders and get them on the counter and it nearly paid off.
After scoring the equaliser, Mutare City laid back as if they wanted the match to be decided through penalties.
However, defending too deep by Mutare City gave Bosso room to create more scoring opportunities.
Dube skied an effort over the bar in the 48th minute with Nhlanhla Ndlovu hitting the upright minutes later.
Highlanders’ keeper Sibanda produced a great save, punching away Mutare City captain Chasten Ngondonga’s effort in the 72nd minute.
A good build-up involving Erick Mudzingwa, Rahman Kutsanzira, Tendai Ngulube and Dube led to Matema’s 79th minute goal, which won the game for Bosso.
Mutare City coach Taku Shariwa said losing to Highlanders was a blessing in disguise as he would now focus on their survival fight.
“It’s unfortunate that we lost, but I think this might be a blessing in disguise so that we concentrate on our relegation fight. We conceded soft goals,” said Shariwa.
Bosso gaffer Erol Akbay said: “It’s a good win for us, but we’re not thinking about the final yet. We need to take each game as it comes.”
Highlanders: Ariel Sibanda, Tendai Ngulube, Honest Moyo, Peter Muduhwa, Tendai Ndlovu, Erick Mudzingwa, Allen Gahadzikwa (Ralph Matema, 61st minute), Simon Munawa, Rahman Kutsanzira (King Nadolo, 90th minute), Nhlanhla Ndlovu (Gabriel Nyoni, 81st minute), Prince Dube
Mutare City Rovers: Philip Nhete, Benvelio Mukwena, Agrippa Murimba, Russell Madamombe (Elisha Chimhaka, 46th minute), Chasten Ngondonga, Arnold Nyakabawo, Wonder Sithole (Tristain Chabwana, 54th minute), Martin Tapatapa (Emmanuel Sinaputa, 67th minute), Collen Muzavazi, Munyaradzi Sako, Bright Mujamanda.
Chibuku Super Cup 1st round results
Friday: Harare City 4-0 Border Strikers
Saturday: FC Platinum 2-0 Chapungu; Ngezi Platinum Stars 3-1 Hwange; Caps United 1-1 Tsholotsho (Tsholotsho won 5-4 on penalties); ZPC Kariba 1-0 Bulawayo City
Yesterday: Highlanders 2-1 Mutare City Rovers; Dynamos 0-0 How Mine (How Mine won 5-4 on penalties); Triangle 1-0 Chicken Inn. The Chronicle