Bosso make it 20

HARARE - Log leaders Highlanders took their unbeaten start to the 2012 Castle Premiership season to 20 games after a hard fought victory over Motor Action yesterday.

Bosso raced to an early lead when former Mighty Bulls player Bheki Ncube opened the scoring after just eight minutes on the clock.

The gangly forward finished off a cross from outstanding right back Bruce Tshuma, who played a blinder for the Bulawayo giants.

Highlanders extended their lead five minutes later when goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda scored from the penalty spot after Beaven Chikaka had been brought down in the penalty box by Morris Kadzola.

An ill-timed headed-back pass by Kadzola eluded veteran Bulls goalkeeper Marlon Jani and Chikaka latched on to the loose ball, but was hacked down from behind by the desperate Kadzola before he could slot the ball into the empty net.

Match referee Thomas Masaa awarded a penalty to the home side and keeper Sibanda stepped up and beat his opposite number for his second goal of the season.

The Mighty Bulls tried to mount a comeback but were let down by poor finishing from their strikers.        

Yves Ebabali had an opportunity to pull one back for the visitors after 24 minutes but headed a Fortune Ncube cross wide with Sibanda terribly exposed.

Ebabali’s strike, partner Merciful Ncube, also wasted a golden opportunity towards half time when he headed straight at Sibanda after some good work by former Bosso player Protasho Kabwe.

Kabwe gave the usually reliable Highlanders skipper Innocent Mapuranga a torrid time in the first half but his efforts were not complemented by his fellow attackers.

The visitors came back from the break a more determined side and finally managed to reduce the arrears when Kadzola converted from the spot on 50 minutes.

Highlanders vice captain Eric Mudzingwa conceded the penalty after his tackle on Merciful Ncube was deemed illegal by referee Masaa.

After the goal, the Mighty Bulls continued to pile on the pressure as they searched for an equaliser but they lacked the final pass needed to breach the Bosso rear-guard.

The second half saw deterioration in the standard of match officiating as Masaa made some calls that were met by derision from both sets of players.

After the match, Motor Action coach Joey Antipas described the match officiating as a circus.

He said: “The referee disturbed our rhythm as he kept penalising players for making fifty - fifty challenges and that affected our play.”

Highlanders head coach Kelvin Kaindu declined to comment on the match officiating and hailed his charges  for bagging the maximum points.

“I am happy that we collected three points but I must admit that this was a tough game and we will continue to take each game as it comes,” Kaindu said.

In attendance during yesterday’s match was legendary South African club owner Jomo Sono.

Sono owns South African First Division side Jomo Cosmos and is thought to be in the country on a scouting mission.

Highlanders are now on 46 points and enjoy a three point lead over second placed Dynamos who are on 43 points from 19 games.

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