Rhinos shoot to the top

HARARE - For a team that is set out to fight against relegation, Black Rhinos are doing a fantastic job of securing their status in the Castle Lager Premiership for next year.

Yesterday, Stanford “Stix” Mutizwa’s side notched up their third consecutive win when they defeated Hwange 3-0 courtesy of goals from James Mukombwe, Milton Kureva and Vincent Mhandu.

This was the newly-promoted side’s sixth win inside nine matches and it took them to the top of the log standings with 20 points.

It was also Chauya Chipembere’s seventh clean sheet as they have only conceded two goals when they lost 1-0 to Ngezi Platinum Stars in the first week and the 1-1 draw against Triangle.

“I’m happy that we keep on collecting three points especially at home,” Mutizwa said after the win over Chipangano.

“I was worried a bit towards the end of the first half because I saw fatigue starting to creep into my players due to the game we played in midweek against Dynamos; it was a tense game and it affected us a little bit.

“After the pep talk I gave at halftime, it paid dividends hence we scored the third goal. We wanted to score more goals but all the same we are happy with those three goals since my strikers are now scoring.”    

Mutizwa’s side are not just grinding results and shutting out the opposition, but they are playing some scintillating football.

Captain Bruce Homora and the rejuvenated Sydney Linyama are solid at the back while the central midfield duo of Donald Mudadi and Cliff Chitsamba are probably the best players in that position in the country at the moment.

Mukombwe and Wilson Chakanyuka provide constant supply of crosses into the box every time they motor up the wings from their full back position.

At 34, Benjamin Marere still has some pace left in those legs and combined with the vast experienced accumulated over the years, the Agatha Shaneti Soccer Academy alumni, is a real threat going forward.

Yesterday, Rhinos took an early lead just after five minutes when Mukombwe curled in a free kick from the edge of the box that gave Hwange keeper Taimon Mvula no chance.        After taking the lead, the home side dropped their tempo a bit as the effects of last Thursday’s game against Dynamos began t take their toll.

Despite enjoying more of the possession, Hwange failed to find an equaliser despite the trickery provided by forward Shepard as Herbert Rusawo’s goal was well-protracted.

The home side increased their lead on the stroke of halftime, when Marere teed up Kureva inside the box after some good work by Taurai Chigudu, who had replaced Wonder Kapinda midway through the first half.

In the second half, Rhinos were content with keeping possession as they had done enough to secure the three points.

However, Mhandu provided the gloss on the scoreline when he punished a mistake by Mvula in the 92nd minute.

Hwange defender Gerald Ndlovu played a back pass to his keeper who completely missed his clearance with Mhandu closing him down.

The Rhinos forward then simply walked the ball into an empty net with Mvula burying his head in shame after the mistake.

Hwange coach nation Dube said: “We didn’t come to the party because we gave away soft goals. After the first goal, we came back into the game and we missed a few chances but if we had scored, it could have been a different game.”

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