Harare City .. . . . . . .(2) 4
Highlanders . . . . . . . . . 0
NOW, its for Harare City to lose the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League title. Yesterday, they made it very clear with a clinical dismantling of Highlanders at Rufaro Stadium to shoot to the top of the standings with 53 points, two better than second-placed Dynamos and their victims yesterday.
Nathan Ziwini led from his favourable left attacking position for the home side, banging a brace — the first goal arriving after the 20th minute when the former Dynamos man connected home a Tongayi Chiworeso free-kick and then tapping in on 50th minute after a sharp counter attack which he had initiated.
In between, William Manondo had given City the cushion goal right at the end of the first half, just moments after Njabulo Ncube had hit the upright at the other end. The Bigboy Mawiwi-coached side made the win more emphatic and further embarrassing for the visiting side just after the hour mark with an individual goal of supreme quality.
Silas Songani, who was brilliant all afternoon with his darting runs on the right flank, won possession in the City half and exploited acres of space that had been left behind by left-back Bruce Kangwa, who had galloped forward. The speedy winger beat defender Innocent Mapuranga who was left sprawling on the ground before releasing a prickly angled shot that gave Highlanders goalie Munyaradzi Diya no chance.
More than the three points won, it was sweet revenge for the City Fathers who were booted out of the Mbada Diamonds Cup at the semi-final stage by the same opposition just last week and had also lost the reverse fixture 2-0 in Bulawayo.
At the final whistle, Mawiwi rushed into the field, and cuddled his players and members of the club’s executive. He managed to stutter a few words to the media though.
“I am very happy for the win. I am over the moon. I thank God for the win, God is for everyone,” Mawiwi said.
He added: “I expected this scoreline. I told the youngsters to score three goals so that we cushion because the environment we are living now is very difficult in terms of the refereeing so we wanted to make sure they (Highlanders) don’t come back in the game. We have respect for the next opponent, it will be a tough match but we are going to fight to the last minute.”
Bekithemba Ndlovu, who was in charge of Bosso in the absence of first team coach Kelvin Kaindu, who is away in England for a coaching course looked gutted at the final whistle. After the match, he quickly dashed to the dressing room where he held a meeting with his players which lasted for more than 10 minutes before emerging to meet the waiting journalists.
“We didn’t play our usual game, the attitude of most of the players was wrong. Five or six players were not in it at all. If I had a choice I was going to make six changes during play but only three are allowed. We lost the ball in crucial areas and we were punished. It looked like Harare City wanted it more than us because they put a lot of effort in their game,” Ndlovu said.
City were magnificent from the offset and after surviving Simon Munawa’s eighth minute speculative shot, they took the deserved lead when Ziwini reacted fast inside the box to meet Chiworeso’s free kick. They could have added a second on 34th minute, but Manondo’s shot from inside the box went just wide. Highlanders came near on 40th minute when Bheki Ncube’s stinging shot after a lay-off from a free kick, was brilliantly parried away by goalkeeper Maxwell Nyamupanedengu. Moments later Njabulo’s header found the upright as Bosso probed for the equaliser.
City conceded another free kick on 43rd minute in a dangerous position, but Kangwa wasted the chance, blasting over, but their easiest chance would arrive a minute later. Njabulo created a pocket of space inside the six yard box, but somehow dragged his shot wide. The punishment was almost immediate. Talent Chawapihwa escaped on the left for City before feeding the ball into the box which Erick Mudzingwa allowed to fly past and Manondo who was lurking behind said thank you — as City went to the break 2-0 up.
It almost got better for City at the restart when they were awarded a penalty, Ncube adjudged to have brought down Martin Vengesayi inside the box. Crispen Dickson stepped up, but Diya’s trailing legs blocked the effort. There was nothing Diya could do to deny the brilliant team goal that followed.
Ziwini won possession on the left before spraying the ball to the unmarked Songani who found Vengesayi. All that time, Ziwini had arrived in the box and when the cross came in, he just pushed it over the line before Songani’s fourth.
Results at a glance
Harare City 4-0 Highlanders, Chicken Inn 2-2 Dynamos, Buffaloes 1-0 Monomotapa, Black Rhinos 1-0 Hwange, Black Mambas 3-0 Tripple B, Shabanie Mine 2-0 Triangle, How Mine 1-1 FC Platinum
Motor Action 0-2 Caps United
Fixtures Week 30
Caps United vs Harare City, Dynamos vs Black Mambas, Highlanders vs Shabanie Mine, FC Platinum vs Buffaloes, Triangle vs Chicken Inn, Tripple B vs How Mine, Hwange vs Motor Action, Monomotapa vs Black Rhinos