Dynamos 1-0 Highlanders
DYNAMOS captain Murape Murape scored the only goal as champions Dynamos beat old foe Highlanders to win the Independence Trophy at the National Sports Stadium on Thursday.
The victory, before a heaving National Sports Stadium, gave Callisto Pasuwa’s men a psychological advantage ahead of the two teams’ clash in a Castle Lager Premier League tie at Rufaro on Sunday.
Highlanders have this season failed to beat Dynamos in three meetings after they were beaten in a two legged Bob 89 Super Cup back in February.
Crucially, the win came as a relief to Dynamos after a bad spell in which they had gone for a four-match winless streak in the domestic league.
Both teams fielded second string sides as they rested key players ahead of the Sunday match.
Highlanders finished the match with 10 men after Njabulo Ncube, who had come in as a second half substitute, was given a red card by referee Luke Kunaka for head-butting Gift Bello in an off the ball incident on 77 minutes.
The Bulawayo giants dominated the better part of the match, carving out good chances which could have seen them sew up the contest but their front runners fluffed a number of chances.
Beaven Chikaka was the chief culprit and missed with a wild effort nine minutes into the match after racing clear of the Dynamos defence.
A minute later Cleopas Dube forced Dynamos goalkeeper Artwell Mukandi into a fine save after he won possession in the penalty box.
Dynamos also had a chance on 11 minutes only for Tichaona Mabvura’s well-struck shot to miss target narrowly.
As Highlanders continued with their raids, Dube missed a headed opportunity with Mukandi superbly saving his effort on 13 minutes.
Still Highlanders bombarded the Dynamos goal with an assortment of shots but their attackers either missed the target or were denied by the impressive DeMbare goalkeeper.
Hillary Madzivanyika also missed a chance for Highlanders, shooting wide of target after winning possession on 28 minutes.
On 35 minutes, Highlanders thought they had finally got the goal that had appeared to be elusive when Chikaka coolly chested a high ball in the penalty box before rifling home only to be flagged for offside.
Murape then summoned his experience on 41 minutes as he beat an offside trap by the Highlanders defence to find the target with his left foot from the acutest of angles.Advertisement
The ball hit the upright first before it bounced into the net.
The goal also appeared to deflate Bosso as Dynamos gained control of the match in the second half.
And Highlanders’ intentions of a comeback were dealt a blow when Ncube, who replaced Knox Mtizwa in the 61st minute, was sent off for an off the ball incident with 12 minutes on the clock.
It was Dynamos’ eighth Independence Cup trophy while their rivals have won it five times.
Pasuwa was naturally elated.
“We wanted to win this cup. This victory has eased pressure on us as we prepare for the Sunday game. We have been failing to score but today we got it right. It’s a morale booster as we build up to the match on Sunday,” said Pasuwa.
His opposite number Kaindu, was however fuming after the match. He argued his team played better than their opponents but were hard done by the referee who denied them what he termed a genuine goal.
“We played better than our opponents but the referee’s decision influenced the result. It put us at a disadvantage. I am finding it difficult to coach in Zimbabwe because if you raise a genuine complaint, you get sent off. I am really not happy with the way I am being handled and if they continue to handle me like this, I will leave,” said a visibly disappointed Kaindu.