By Sports Reporter
A FIRST half goal by Vincent Mhandu condemned Bulawayo giants Highlanders to their third straight defeat in a Castle Lager Premiership tie at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.
Black Rhinos were dominant and never showed any signs of respect for their more illustrious opponents as they launched wave after wave of attack in the first half.
The home side could, in fact, have killed off the match in the first stanza but their attackers appeared to lack the presence of mind in the attacking third.
Rhinos were thrust into the lead on 12 minutes; Vincent Mhandu taping home a rebound after Wellington Taderera’s shot had been palmed away by goalkeeper Prosper Mathuthu.
A minute later Lot Chunga had an opportunity but shot tamely at goal.
Highlanders could however, have levelled matters through Nigel Makumbe 26 minutes but goalkeeper Ashley Reyners did well to save the effort.
From there on, Bosso appeared to gain control as they threatened with some dangerous raids.
Still Black Rhinos could have doubled their lead on 40 minutes but Wonder Kapinda skied his effort over the bar after a brilliant corner kick by Farai Banda.
In the second half, the Bulawayo giants looked determined to earn a point but were denied by some stoic defending by the army side with coach Hebert Maruwa introducing Augustine Mbara for Mhandu as he sought to close shop.
The Bulawayo giants, still refused to throw in the towel with Makumbe and Gabriel Nyoni coming close on 47 and 66 minutes respectively but it was too late for the Bulawayo giants. This was Highlanders’ third successive defeat in the campaign.
Rhinos coach Hebert Maruwa was pleased with the result.
“It was a good result,” he said after the game.
“Coming from the break we managed to get a win, it helps us especially with confidence for the boys to make sure we put pressure on the teams that are above us.
“Mentally the boys are getting there, especially going for nine games without losing.
“I am satisfied with the progress of the team. We need to keep on winning so that we climb to the top.”
Bosso coach Madinda Ndlovu blamed lack of concentration for the defeat.
“I think we made a very early defensive error at the back and that cost us; also, coming from the back trying to put the boys together it’s a bit of a challenge,” he said.
“I was nevertheless happy with the performance in the second half of the game.
“We controlled parts of the game, we attacked very well but still we have a big challenge in our finishing.
“It showed we lack an experienced striker who can get us the goals we need.”
He added; “I think what we have to remember here is not the issue of us wanting to challenge the championship.
“We are embarking on a very serious and big project; and that project is to try and bring back that exciting football back at Highlanders.
“It would be very unfair for me to say crucify these boys, they have done well so far. We just have to give them an opportunity and show them what football is all about.”