By Sikhumbuzo Moyo
Brian Banda scored an 84th minute 30 metre thunderbolt that changed the complexion of the match as Highlanders went on to collect maximum points against Telone at Barbourfields Stadium to move within a point from the top six bracket in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League table.
Inform striker Prince Dube scored his fourth goal on the bounce through the spot kick after Charles Mutero handled inside the box under challenge from an out of sorts second half substitute, Peter Nyirenda. This left referee Mhaka Magare who had a good day in office, with no option but to point to the spot. For his troubles, Mutero earned himself a yellow card.
“I am not surprised with the result, we told the boys to be patient. Our opponents did everything possible for a draw,” said an elated Highlanders coach Hendrik Pieter de Jongh.
The home side were made to sweat for the victory as Rahman Gumbo’s boys matched them pound for pound and even dared them with some cracks at goal that saw them getting four shots on target while it took Highlanders 81 minutes to have their first shot on target through top defender Peter Muduhwa.
“We felt we did all there is, matching them in all departments only to concede when we had so many men in the box. It’s still fight on against relegation, we remain eager to play Premiership football next season,” said TelOne assistant coach Lloyd Mutasa.
Highlanders had eight corner kicks compared to TelOne’s four, but the Gweru based outfit had more shots on target than Highlanders, managing four which however found Ariel Sibanda unyielding.
Meanwhile, Highlanders coach de Jongh has rubbished reports in some sections of the media that there was a rift between him and assistant coach Mandla Lulu Mpofu, calling the reports fake.
“People are trying to destabilise our club, we have a united staff, I am happy with everyone in the squad and those reports that I want to make some changes are fake, totally fake,” said an emotionally charged de Jongh. The Chronicle