Highlanders battle to retain top spot

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Highlanders 2-1 Black Mambas
HIGHLANDERS rode their luck to beat Black Mambas 2-1 at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday and maintain a two-point lead at the top of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League.
In the capital Harare City deposed Dynamos from second place after beating Tripple B 2-0 at Rufaro.
Bosso top the league table with 26 points with City a close second on 24 while Dynamos, who had moved second on Saturday after a 2-0 win over Motor Action, dropped to third on 22 points.
Caps United made most of their luck at the National Sports Stadium beating FC Platinum 2-1 to move into position seven with 19 points, three points off defending champions and bitter Harare rivals Dynamos.
But at Barbourfields, Highlanders, coming from a 5-2 midweek mauling of Monomotapa in Harare, found themselves struggling for fluency against determined Mambas.
Innocent Nyoni tested Highlanders goalkeeper Arial Sibanda with 13 minutes on the clock while Tsepo Ramathlokoane’s free kick from about 25 metres flew over moments later.
Bosso gradually worked themselves back into the match but Graham Ncube’s header missed the target on the half hour, before Bruce Kangwa’s shot was saved by rather impressive Mambas goalkeeper Tonderai Mateyaunga in the 39th minute.
The best chance of the first half fell to Milton Ncube who connected with a perfect header from Mthulisi Maphosa’s cross from the right but Mateyaunga produced a reflex save to deny Highlanders the lead going into half-time.
However, there was nothing though Mateyaunga could do in the 57th minute when Milton out-jumped the Mambas defence and planted a firm header to the near-post from a Lawson Nkomo for the lead, sending more than 10,000 fans into delirium.
Highlanders then dominated proceedings and Godwin Mangani, under pressure, sliced the ball over his own keeper in the 77th minute. Mateyaunga was on hand to bring the ball back into play and substitute Beaven Chikaka was headed home to make it 2-0.
But Mambas refused to give up and Paida Ziwini struck a sweet free kick past Sibanda in the 85th minute to ensure a frantic end to the match as Highlanders held on.
Weekend Results
Sunday: Highlanders 2-1 Black Mambas, Harare City 2-0 Tripple B, Buffaloes 1-3 Shabanie Mine, Black Rhinos 2-1 TriangleAdvertisement

Saturday: Motor Action 0-2 Dynamos, How Mine 0-1 Chicken Inn