Bosso keep up pressure

BULAWAYO - Highlanders right-back Lawson Nkomo struck a ferocious winner on the stroke of full time to earn the championship contenders a sweet victory over police outfit Black Mambas yesterday.

The visitors were made to pay for their time-wasting antics that nearly spoilt the game in the second half as Nkomo’s powerfully struck effort went in when they were two men short.

Mambas were reduced to 10 men on 29 minutes when their left back Tendai Chinungo was shown a straight red card for a two-footed lunge on Highlanders midfielder Masimba Mambare.

This meant the visitors were down to nine men when Nkomo struck the winner on 90 minutes after second half substitute Tsepo Rantokoane had been stretchered off the field after feigning injury.

The second half of the game was a frustrating affair for the home side as it was characterised by time-wasting gimmicks by Mambas with Young Warriors goalkeeper Tonderai Mateyaunga being the main culprit.

Mateyaunga would fall to the ground on regular intervals forcing the referee Munyaradzi Majoni to stop the game so that he could get treatment.

After the match, Nkomo bodly declared Highlanders would go on to win the championship this year.

“This win means we have added to our points tally and we are going to win the championship this year and next week we are definitely going to beat Dynamos,” he told reporters.

The first half saw Highlanders failing to create clear cut chances and the situation did not improve even when the visitors were a man short after Chinungo’s dismissal.

Ozias Zibande had the only notable chance of the first half on 37 minutes when his flashing header was palmed away for a corner by Mateyaunga.

Mambas forward Last Chibwiro had a chance to give his side the lead towards half time but shot weakly at Highlanders keeper Ariel Sibanda after finding himself at the end of a Kumbirai Kapikinyu cross on 43 minutes.

Immediately after the restart Bosso anchorman Mthulisi Maphosa wasted a good opportunity to send his side into the lead when he shot wide after a miskick by Milton Ncube had kindly fallen onto his path.

Mambare also sent his effort over the bar from a good position on 77 minutes as the home side searched for the opener.

But the glaring miss of the day came from Highlanders substitute Cleopas Dube who skewed his effort wide in front of a glaring goal after being set up by fellow substitute Heritein Masuku on 80 minutes.

Dube had replaced the out-of-sorts Graham Ncube on 55 minutes and his introduction added a new dimension to Highlanders’ attack as he used his aerial advantage to good effect.

Nkomo then struck on the stroke of full time to send the Highlanders fans into song and dance.
 
The dreadlocked defender took a corner kick that was flicked over to the far post by Mambare before being redirected into the box by Innocent Mapuranga.

In the ensuing melee the ball rolled to Nkomo who was lurking just outside the box and he struck a screamer that gave Mateyaunga no chance.

Mambas head coach John Ncube said his side had been hard done by Chinungo’s sending off.

“We were affected by the dismissal of Chinungo but I must commend my players for putting up a good fight,” Ncube said.

On the other hand, Highlanders head coach Kelvin Kaindu heaped praise on Nkomo for his wonder goal.

“It was a sweet victory considering how the opposition conducted themselves, and like I have said in the past, it seems like we are now playing against everybody else,” Kaindu said. - Sakheleni Nxumalo

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