By Ricky Zililo
HIGHLANDERS’ juggernaut continued to roll, stretching their unbeaten run in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League to eight games, in the process jumping up to sixth place on the log standings from ninth.
Bosso scored all three goals in the first half to secure maximum points against bottom-placed Yadah at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday, setting a good tone for the build-up to their epic weekend clash against Dynamos at Rufaro Stadium on Sunday.
Highlanders, who have been enjoying great form since the arrival of Dutch coach Hendrik Pieter de Jongh, displayed some breathtaking football in the opening 30 minutes, before taking their foot off the pedal after banging in three goals.
Left-back Mbongeni Ndlovu fired Bosso into the lead with a well-orchestrated move that saw him getting to the end of Denzel Khumalo’s pass after an interchange of passes to poke the ball past advancing goalkeeper Issah Ali in the 11th minute.
In the 20th minute, striker Godfrey Makaruse, who was given his first start since the arrival of de Jongh, reminded many of his qualities by doubling Bosso’s lead with a thunderbolt from 20 metres out with his weaker right foot.
Makaruse found himself starting for Bosso due to the unavailability of chief striker Prince Dube, who is serving a two-match ban for picking up a red card against ZPC Kariba.
Tinashe Makanda sealed victory by converting a delightful defence-splitting pass from Nqobizitha Masuku with aplomb in the 27th minute. Makanda left centre-back Byron Madzokere for dead before slotting past a hapless Ali.
An avalanche of goals was expected from Bosso after that, but the players seemed to reserve their energy for Sunday’s big match against Dynamos.
Highlanders were expected to have an easy second-half, but Yadah woke up from their slumber and took the game to their hosts, who were guilty of fluffing a flurry of scoring opportunities.
Substitute Bukhosi Sibanda, who replaced Adrian Silla at the start of the second half, was guilty of wasting about three chances, with Khumalo thrice shooting straight at the goalkeeper.
Veteran striker Ralph Matema reduced the deficit, leaving Highlanders goalie Ariel Sibanda clutching thin air by heading in Morris Musiyakuvi’s cross from the left side in the 77th minute.
De Jongh was delighted with his side’s second consecutive three-goal haul inside a week.
“I’m happy with the victory because this was a difficult game. We had good focus, good tactical discipline and a very good first-half where we scored three goals. Second half we changed, taking out Silla, who got a little stupid yellow card,” said De Jongh.
“Second-half we created lots of chances; we could have scored four or five goals. It would have been nicer if we scored five goals, but I’m happy.
“Second-half we also made lots of mistakes we have to correct. I think we’re in a good direction because what we want is a nice ranking (move up the table to a respectable position). Today we enjoy, tomorrow we do recovery and on Saturday we travel to play Dynamos.”
Yadah coach Genesis Mangombe disappeared into the team’s dressing room.
Highlanders: Ariel Sibanda, McClive Phiri, Mbongeni Ndlovu, Peter Muduhwa, Andrew Mbeba, Adrian Silla (Bukhosi Sibanda, 46th minute), Brian Banda, Nqobizitha Masuku, Godfrey Makaruse (Cleopas Kapupurika, 76th minute), Tinashe Makanda, Denzel Khumalo (Peter Nyirenda, 90th minute)
Yadah: Issah Ali, Morris Musiyakuvi, Jonathan Chitereki, Zvikomborero Bizeki, Byron Madzokere, Sydney Linyama, Godknows Mangani, Wellington Kamudyariwa (Munyaradzi Chiwara, 56th minute), Abraham Shumba, Ralph Matema, Issa Sadiki. The Chronicle