BY TERRY MADYAUTA
HIGHLANDERS coach Baltemar Brito suffered his first defeat since taking charge of the club as there seems to be no end to the Bulawayo giant’s away woes after a shock loss against relegation-threatened WhaWha at Ascot Stadium yesterday.
A brace from Albert Matewu was all Whawha needed to secure maximum points while Lynoth Chikuhwa scored the Highlanders’ consolation goal.
The match was however not without its fair share of drama as two players were red-carded while Highlanders goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda failed to convert from the penalty spot as WhaWha slayed yet another PSL giant after Chicken Inn and Ngezi Platinum at the same venue.
WhaWha coach Luke Petros was elated by the win so much that he felt it could be his team’s turning point in their bid to survive relegation.
“We are still fighting relegation but I am happy with the resilience and character that is being shown by the team even at a point we were under pressure. Highlanders gave us a good run but today, fortune favoured us,” Petros said.
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His counterpart Brito, whose side has not won a league match away since September 2019, conceded defeat.
“I thank my players for their effort. WhaWha did well to win this match. We lost as a result of individual mistakes and after that, we tried to come back but we didn’t manage to get an equalizer,” he said.
“It’s part of football to lose but today all credit goes to our opponents who have done well to collect points at stake.”
Highlanders started the match strongly but conceded after just 13 minutes against the run of play when Matewu scored with a tap-in finish after benefitting from a low cross delivered by Evidence Mawanda.
To pile more misery, Highlanders were reduced to 10 men after 34 minutes, when Stanley Ngala received a straight red card after a crude foul on a WhaWha defender Justine Gadzani.
While Bosso were still reorganizing themselves after the red-card incident, Matewu struck again after two minutes, this time benefitting from a stylish flick from Jayden Barake.
Bosso, however, kept prodding and their persistence paid dividends on the stroke of halftime, with Chikuhwa finishing from close range following a neat interchange of passes that involved Ray Lunga and Divine Mhindirira.
WhaWha were also reduced to 10 men on the 50th minute when Matewu was red-carded for a second bookable offence.
Highlanders could have hit the target on several occasions but lacked precision as Chikuhwa and Washington Navaya both came near in quick succession after the hour mark.
The Bulawayo giants were awarded a penalty on the 83rd minute when Evidence Mawanda handled the ball in the box as he attempted to clear the ball in the box.
The usually reliable Sibanda however had his effort brilliantply palmed out of play by rookie goalie Allan Masaya. From then, WhaWha stood resolute to thwart every attack that Bosso launched until the final whistle.