By Innocent Kurira
A tactical masterpiece by Bulawayo Chiefs coach, Thulani Sibanda saw his side play for 72 minutes with one man down and win against Harare City at Luveve Stadium yesterday.
Chiefs’ defender Brandon Mpofu was sent for an early shower with just 18 minutes played after he plunged into William Manondo with an open footed challenge leaving referee Mhaka Magare with no choice but to take out his red card.
At that time Harare City were on top of the game but failing to turn their dominance into goals. City were poor in the final third for the entire game and were made to pay by Ghanaian Issac Badu in the 55th minute.
The towering defender rose above everyone else in the box to nod home a well taken Shepherd Mhlanga free kick on the right.
The goal brought some urgency into the visitors’ play but Chiefs were resolute in defence. Chiefs showed great defensive discipline to shut out the visitors. The hosts sat deep and created a defensive wall that the Sun Shine boys failed to breach.
Facing raid after raid of attacks the hosts held on to their one goal advantage.
“I think it was a good game. The level of intensity applied by the boys was impressive. When we lost to Highlanders we were coming from an overload of strength training and I had told the boys that we would soon be reaping results of the training programme.
“If we maintain this level of fitness definitely we will get results in the coming games. The victory today takes us to 24 points which is about two points away from safety which is good,” said an elated Sibanda.
His opposite number Lloyd Chitembwe said: “This is very disappointing, I thought we controlled the game. It looked like it was going to be a very easy game but then in football when things look easy that is the time things are more dangerous. In the second half we went to sleep. When they got that goal we knew it was going to be difficult because we were now chasing the game.” The Chronicle