BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
Harare City…….. (2) 3
HIGHLANDERS’ stuttering start to the season continued after they were outclassed by a new-look Harare City side which came from a goal down to secure a comfortable victory at Rufaro Stadium yesterday.
The two teams went into the contest still searching for their first win of the season with City having lost their opening two matches, while Highlanders had managed two draws.
In the end it was Harare City who looked the hungrier side after scoring two goals in five minutes through Munyaradzi Diro-Nyenye and Walter Mukanga to cancel out Prince Dube’s 24th minute opener.
Bosso, who had to finish the match with 10 men after McClive Phiri was shown a second yellow card by referee Norman Matemera in the 72nd minute, never looked like coming back and duly conceded the third goal scored by the impressive Tatenda Tumba in the 56th minute.
The Sunshine Boys could have scored a fourth goal, but Mukanga’s penalty, awarded after Phiri fouled substitute Denzel Chimwemwe inside the box, was saved by Ariel Sibanda in the 73rd minute.
Highlanders’ technical manager Madinda Ndlovu (pictured) admitted that Harare City were the better team on the day, adding that he was surprised they didn’t concede more than the three goals scored by the hosts.
“Harare City were much hungrier than us today, I have to admit that we gave it away very cheaply. The scoreline is not a reflection of the game; we should have gone down by a much bigger margin today. The boys didn’t come to the party; we were struggling to string passes together and to play our normal game,” Ndlovu said.
Harare City coach Mark Harrison, who was under pressure after his side failed to collect a point in their first two matches, said it was an important win for his side.
“It was important for us not to lose this game for sure; we needed to get something from it. Like I said last week that perfomance means everything, if you perform you tend to get the results and last week we didn’t perform in any manner from the first to the final whistle and we got what we deserved, we got beaten well. Today we performed from start to finish and we had pretty much complete control of the game,” Harrison said.
Highlanders bossed the game in terms of possession in the opening stages, but had limited clear-cut chances, while Harare City were content with their methodical build-ups from the back.
The visitors created the first chance of the opening half after Dube was released by Brian Banda before shooting straight at goalkeeper Kelvin Shangwa in the 23rd minute.
Dube would, however, make no mistake two minutes later, finding the bottom right corner with his right foot for his first goal of the season after being sent through by Ben Musaka.
With action swinging from one end to the other, Harare City found the equaliser just before the half-hour mark after an unmarked Diro-Nyenye stabbed the ball home from close range after the Bosso defenders had failed to deal with Milton Ncube’s delivery from a corner.
City completed the turnaround five minutes later through Mukanga in the 34th minute, tapping home from a cross from the right by Martin Vengesai.
Bosso started the second half strongly with Shangwa producing a double save to deny Dube and Peter Nyirenda, while Kuda Musharu wasted a glorious chance for City after heading over with only the keeper to beat.
The miss by Musharu, however, didn’t prove costly after Tumba produced a moment of magic by dribbling past Nyirenda inside the box before curling the ball to the left corner past Sibanda.
City had a chance to score the fourth after Chimwemwe won a penalty soon after his introduction in the 74th minute, but Sibanda produced a superb save to deny Mukanga.
Harare City: K Shangwa, M Machazane, G Madhake, M Nyenye-Diro, M Ncube, L Muyambo, W Mukanga (P Moyo, 81’), T Tavengwa, K Musharu, M Vengesai (D Chimwemwe, 74’), T Tumba (W Manondo, 75’)
Highlanders: A Sibanda, M Phiri, B Musaka (R Lunga, 62’), B Banda (B Sibanda, 62’), P Nyirenda (C Siamalonga, 78’), N Masuku, M Ndlovu, P Mudhuwa, T Ndlovu, T Makanda, P Dube.