Bantu, Bosso share spoils

BULAWAYO - Bantu Rovers were unlucky not to collect maximum points against log leaders Highlanders in an ill–tempered Bulawayo derby here yesterday.

The exciting encounter was marred by some questionable match officiating that infuriated Rovers head coach Methembe Ndlovu who was ejected from the technical area midway through the first half.

Ndlovu was sent to the stands after a series of confrontations with fourth official Philan Ncube as he contested decisions that went against his team by match referee Bekezela Makeka.

Tshintsha would go on to finish the match a man short after veteran defender Herbert Dick was sent off in the dying stages of the game.

Ndlovu derived some comfort from the point his charges got from the goalless stalemate and declined to comment on his expulsion.

“We are starting the second half of the season and the most important thing is to learn from our mistakes in the first half and do better in the second.

“At least we picked up a point after the boys played well and we applied ourselves well but we just could not grind out a result,” Ndlovu said.

Highlanders got off the blocks quicker than the hosts and could have taken an early lead when Ozias Zibande found himself face to face with Bantu keeper Takunda Mutanga but the striker’s low shot was blocked by the outdrawn shot stopper.

Valentine Ndaba had intelligently set up Zibande but the striker failed to do justice to the sublime pass and would later demonstrate that he had left his shooting boots at home with some wayward shooting after he kept on playing when the referee had blown for offside and blasted his effort off target with the keeper at his mercy.

After that early scare Tshintsha Guluva began to dominate proceedings with a sleek passing game that saw their more illustrious opponents playing second fiddle.

Rovers could have walked away with a crucial victory had their new signing Dalubuhle Muroka not been denied by the upright on 61 minutes with Highlanders keeper Ariel Sibanda well beaten.

Muroka came in for veteran striker Sizalobuhle Dube at the beginning of the second half and showed some intelligent touches that gave the Highlanders defence some anxious moments.

The introduction of Welcome Ndiweni for Ndaba on 57 minutes stabilised Highlanders and things further took a turn for the better for the Bulawayo giants with the introduction of young Godfrey “Godera” Makaruse who livened up things on the left flank.

Makaruse replaced the ineffective Knox Mtizwa on 67 minutes when he came in alongside Cleopas Dube who came in for Zibande.

Highlanders head coach Kelvin Kaindu described the result as two points dropped rather than as a point gained.

“We had planned to get maximum points but the way the game was it was evenly balanced and we could have gone to halftime in the lead had we been able to put away the chances that we created in the first half,” he said.

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