Hwange hold Highlanders

BULAWAYO - A draw was the fairest result in this uninspiring Castle Premiership encounter between hosts Highlanders and visiting Hwange which ended 1-1 here yesterday.

The match, which was hyped up as a top-of-the table-clash, failed to live up expectations with both teams putting up an insipid display of football.

HIGH-FLYER: Hwange forward Rodwell Chinyengetere evades a tackle by Eric Mudzingwa of Highlanders. Picture: Auntony Zinyange. 

A first half penalty conversion by Highlanders keeper Munyaradzi Diya and an Alick Marime strike in the second half ensured a share of the spoils.

The hosts flattered only to deceive during the early stages with attacking midfielder Kuda Mahachi flourishing on the flanks.

Mahachi had an effort tipped over by Hwange goalkeeper Takabva Mawaya on nine minutes after he had roasted Chipangano left-back Munyaradzi Mungadze on the right flank before making an audacious attempt at goal with a curling effort.

Mungadze had to resort to rough play to contain the slippery Mahachi and was shown the yellow card on 20 minutes after a foul.

This misdemeanor came back to haunt the Chipangano left-back when he was cautioned for a second time in the dying stages of the second half after a dangerous lunge from behind on Highlanders forward Milton Ncube.

Hwange were dangerous on set pieces in the first quarter of the match with Warriors defender Eric Chipeta hitting the upright on 11 minutes but it was Highlanders who went ahead from a set piece when Diya converted from the spot on 22 minutes.

Chipeta gave away the penalty when he hacked down Ncube in the penalty box while trying to win back the ball after he had been dispossessed by the Bosso player off a Mawaya goal kick.

The goal was Diya’s third of the season after he grabbed a brace against Shabanie Mine in Week Two.

Highlanders could have extended their lead just after the half hour mark but Mthulisi Mpahosa and Ncube combined to let Hwange off the hook following a quick attacking move that was initiated by MahachiMaphosa failed to last the distance as he went off injured just before the half time break and was replaced by Peter Moyo.

And Highlanders’ play suffered after the forced change as Eric Mudzingwa was left to fight a lone battle in central midfield.

Hwange eventually drew level through Marime on 59 minutes following a quickly taken free kick that caught the Highlanders defence unawares.

Both teams failed to lift their game in the final quarter of the match with hosts Highlanders even failing to capitalize on their numerical advantage when Mungadze was sent for an early shower on 83 minutes.

Highlanders technical manager Kelvin Kaindu described yesterday’s result as unfortunate in his post -match interview.

“It is unfortunate we failed to pick up maximum points and I think the problem was that the substitutes that we brought in did not make any impact.

“I think we lacked creativity today and even when Rio came in he was not at his best but the race is on and we hope to rectify the problems that we had,” Kaindu said.

Hwange assistant coach Chenjerai Dube on the other hand was content with the point his team picked up away from home.

“It was a tough game as Highlanders played well in the first half and we also came back strongly in the second half so I think a draw was the fairest result,” Dube said.

Teams

Highlanders: Munyaradzi Diya, Simon Munawa (Ozias Zibande, 84min), Bruce Kangwa, Dumisani Ndlovu, Innocent Mapuranga, Eric Mudzingwa, Mthulisi Maphosa (Peter Moyo, 4 min), Rahman Kutsanzira (Valentine Ndaba, 69min), Kuda Mahachi, Milton Ncube, Charles Sibanda.

Hwange: Takabva Mawaya, Eric Chipeta, Munyaradzi  Mungadze, Gerald Ndlovu, David Bworiwondo, Andrew Chuma, Isaac Masame (Tafara Chese, 61 min), Oscar Lungu (Gilbert Zulu, 80min), Farai Vimisai (Evans Rusike, 73min), Rodwell Chinyengetere, Alick Marime.

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