Sibanda hat-trick sinks Bantu

BULAWAYO - Red-hot Highlanders dismissed city counterparts Bantu Rovers 4-2 in a Castle Premiership six-goal thriller here yesterday to further prove their title credentials.

It was impressive forward Charles Sibanda who was the toast of the day with a hat-trick that propelled him to the top-goal scorer chat.

The victory by Tshilamoya ensured they maintain top spot on the Premiership standings.

2010 Soccer Star of the Year Sibanda put his side ahead on 14 minutes after he converted from the spot kick.

Gabriel Nyoni was fouled in the box by Rovers’ Proud Zireni, leaving referee Rugare Kusosa with no option but to point to the spot. Sibanda easily beat Rovers goalkeeper Takunda Mutanga.

Unfazed by the goal, Methembe Ndlovu’s men started pouring forward until they were rewarded on 27 minutes when Tafadzwa Kutinyu ghosted behind defenders on the blind side before connecting a cross from Moses Majika with a header to beat Bosso keeper Ariel Sibanda.

Bosso reclaimed their lead when defender Dumisani Ndlovu sent a long ball into the Bantu half. Off-form defender Hebert Dick badly exposed his goalkeeper after trying to head the ball back to him. Sibanda, who was closely monitoring the move, intercepted and fired past Mutanga.

Just at the stroke of half time, Sibanda sealed his hat-trick with a superb header after pouncing on a cross from Valentine Ndaba, who had made a fine run on the left flank.

Bantu, who were the better team of the two throughout the afternoon, pulled back again when Nqobizitha Masuku converted from a free kick within added minutes of the half time.

This was after Obadiah Tarumbwa was fouled just near the edge of the box by Mudzingwa.

At stoppage time Bosso put the tough contest out of the reach of Bantu when Ozias Zibande connected with a header a cross from Knox Mutizwa.

Highlanders: Ariel Sibanda, Simon Munawa (Felix Chindungwe, 59m) Charles Sibanda, Eric Mudzingwa, Bruce Kangwa, Innocent Mapuranga, Dumisani Ndlovu, Valentine Ndaba (Mthulisi Maphosa, 73m) Knox Mutizwa, Gabriel Nyoni (Ozias Zibande, 41m) Joel Ngodzo.

Bantu: Takunda Mutanga, Bongani Sikwila, Zeph Ngodzo, Teenage Hadebe, Proud Zireni (Tafadzwa Ngwena, 35m) Nqobizitha Masuku, Tafadzwa Kutinyu (Master Mlangeni, 85m) Obadiah Tarumbwa (Lucky Ndlela,  69m) Moses Majika, Bukhosi Sibanda.

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