Bosso march on

BULAWAYO - Rejuvenated Highlanders marched closer to a top eight finish when they edged Tsholotsho FC in a Bulawayo derby on Sunday.

After a disastrous first half of the season in which the Bulawayo giants looked like they would end the season fighting relegation, Bosso have turned around their season with six wins in the last six matches — including victory over FC Platinum in the EasyCall Cup quarter finals.

Yesterday, they faced relegation-threatened Tsholotsho whose error-strewn game in the first half cost them dearly in their fight against the chop.

Lizwe Sweswe’s side will now go into the last game of the season against Harare City at White City Stadium needing a win to avoid relegation unless a result goes their way in the Buffaloes versus Dynamos match.

Buffaloes occupy the last relegation slot with 29 points after losing to Triangle United yesterday.

Tsholotsho have 30 points and a better goal difference than the Mutare-based army side.

And yesterday, at least in the first half, they were second to most of the balls as they struggled with the physical side of Highlanders whose gritty midfielders dominated play.

Nqobizitha Masuku, Valentine Ndaba and Simon Munawa bossed the midfield while Teenage Hadebe and Felix Chindungwe were rock steady in the heart of the Highlanders defence.

It was a clear sign that the resurgent Bulawayo giants were not going to show any mercy towards Tsholotsho in their quest for survival.

Highlanders dominated possession but failed to turn that into goals as the partnership of veteran Ralph Matema and leading marksman Knox Mutizwa — failed to click.

Bosso coach — Amin Soma-Phiri  opted to start with Matema ahead of Obadiah Tarumbwa following his heroics in the mid-week fixture against Hwange in which he scored a brace.

And the former Kambuzuma United and Orlando Pirates striker repaid that faith with a great goal following a sweet cross from the evergreen Bruce Kangwa, in the 36th minute.

Kangwa made a solo run on the left flank, outpacing his marker, before sending in an inviting cross which was met first time on the half volley by Matema to beat Marichi Nickel in goals for Tsholotsho.

Four minutes later, Bosso were back to haunt their opponents when Simon Munawa punished Lizwe Sweswe’s side by slotting into an empty net after a defensive mix-up involving Nickel and his skipper.

Nickel needlessly rushed to the edge of the 18-yard box in an attempt to clear his lines but hit the ball against his captain to allow Munawa to pounce from the ricochet.

It appeared as if Tsholotsho were going to roll over as the two goals deflated them — with news coming from Gibbo Stadium that Buffaloes were leading Triangle.

But Sweswe galvanised his troops at half time as they made a storming start believing they could rally back and settle matters against their hosts.

And they were rewarded in the 49th minute when veteran forward Joel Luphahla drilled his free-kick through a forest of legs to beat Bosso goalie Ariel Sibanda.

After the goal, nerves crept into Highlanders players and the fans as the team endured relentless pressure from the visitors.

Bosso could have killed off the game as a contest on two occasions but woeful finishing from substitute Tarumbwa and Mutizwa let them down.

In the end, they had to hold on until the final whistle.

Sweswe felt it was a game they were supposed to win at all costs.

“We were supposed to win, but such is the game of football. What I can say is, we will fight to the end. In our last match we have to work hard because we need an outright win to ensure that we survive relegation.”

Bosso technical director Cosmos Zulu said they were targeting a top eight finish and is confident Bosso will finish even higher than that.

Meanwhile, at Luveve Stadium, an out-of-sorts How Mine lost to relegated Dongo Sawmill.

Elias Steven’s first half strike was enough to condemn the gold miners to their second consecutive defeat.

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