By Sikumbuzo Moyo in Bulawayo
How Mine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1) 1
Highlanders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1) 1
(Highlanders won 4-3 on penalties)
HIGHLANDERS advanced to the semi-finals of the Chibuku Super Cup after beating How Mine 4-3 on penalties in a quarter-final derby at Barbourfields yesterday.
Simon Munawa gave Highlanders the lead in 13th minute and substitute Godfrey Nguwodzawo replied for How Mine in the 36th minute.
Munawa was fed by the speedy Gabriel Nyoni inside the box to power home a strike that beat How Mine goalkeeper Munyaradzi Diya.
Nyoni, who was used as a surprise striker, could have scored seconds earlier after using his speed to break through the How Mine defence, but his shot was parried back into play by Diya.
Nyoni collected the rebound and unselfishly laid the ball to the advancing Munawa, who didn’t think twice about packing a powerful shot to put Bosso in front.
The crowd went into frenzy as Bosso were all over How Mine, but wasted numerous chances. They were punished by substitute Nguwodzawo, who had come in for Qadar Amini. He connected what looked like a harmless corner with his left foot and it somehow beat a badly positioned Ariel Sibanda in goals for Highlanders.
Bosso coach Erol Akbay had during the week said he wanted to wrap up the game in regulation time against the gold miners because no one has control over shoot-outs.
Akbay must have been worried that How Mine could repeat another giant killing act on Bosso in the same manner they ousted Dynamos in the first round of the competition in Harare.
However, the same penalties the Dutchman was trying to avoid at all costs are what propelled his side into semi-finals where they join FC Platinum, Harare City and Ngezi Platinum Stars.
“In cup games you get one chance to either win or lose. We played well in the first 20 or so minutes, but after that we started playing a defensive game and allowed them to get back into the match. I wanted to win the match in 90 minutes, but we couldn’t do it,” said Akbay.
With the game deadlocked in the second half, Akbay introduced veteran striker Ralph Matema, a man who has built himself a reputation of being a super substitute, for the ineffective Allen Gahadzikwa in the 66th minute.
Matema couldn’t repeat the magic of previous matches in which he scored each time he was brought on as the match went to penalties.
The weather conditions drastically changed in the latter stages of the second half with strong winds disturbing the momentum of the game as players from both sides battled to find the right passes.
The game degenerated into kick-and-run football until the end of the 90 minutes as the wind wreaked havoc.
Milton Ncube, Timothy January and Pasca Manhanga scored their spot kicks, but Kudakwashe Musharu’s kick struck the left upright and goalkeeper Diya’s strike was saved by his Bosso opposite Sibanda.
Munawa, Matema, Peter Muduhwa and Prince Dube were all on target.
“I think what we need is consistency in all our matches. The substitutes did their part and helped us up the game, although the second half was quite difficult because of the winds. I’m the kind of coach who plays an open game. I always want to see my players behind the ball; we did that but unfortunately the better team of the day won the game,” said How Mine coach Kelvin Kaindu.
How Mine, who were the home team yesterday, opted to wear an all-white strip, forcing Bosso to revert to their traditional black and white stripe.
Bosso had been donning the all-white kit for the better part of the 2016 Premier Soccer League season as they believed it brought them luck, since most of their victories were in that strip.
Highlanders: A. Sibanda, R. Kutsanzira, S. Munawa, P. Dube, T. Ndlovu, D. Sibanda, P. Muduhwa, T. Ngulube, H. Moyo, G. Nyoni, A. Gahadzikwa (R. Matema, 66 minutes)
How Mine: M. Diya, T. Ranthokoane, Q. Amini (G. Nguwodzawo, 30 minutes), K. Chideu, V. Kamhuka, M. Sakala, A. Muganyi (P. Manhanga, 71 minutes), M. Ncune, K. Musharu, T. Masuku, H. Masuku (T. January. 57 minutes). The Chronicle