Motor Action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1) 1
Highlanders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1) 1
HIGHLANDERS’ hopes of clinching the title this season were hugely hampered yesterday when they dropped two points in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match played at Rufaro Stadium in Harare.
A match against a relegated Motor Action, a team they have not beaten in the last three seasons, was a good opportunity for the title-chasing Bulawayo giants to go on top of the log, particularly considering results from elsewhere.
Motor Action beat Highlanders 1-0 in the reverse fixture at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo.
Master Masitara had given Highlanders a 15th minute lead with a header, but the exciting Walter Musona, younger brother to Warriors striker Knowledge, shattered Bosso’s dreams with a sublime free-kick at the half-hour mark.
It is undoubtedly a result that left Highlanders with a mountain to climb going into the final run-in as they are still two points behind leaders Dynamos and Harare City with just three games left in the season.
Bosso’s situation becomes even more complicated considering that one of their remaining matches will be against Harare City.
Of more concern for the Highlanders technical team was the performance of a side who made just three shots on target over the whole 90 minutes.
Stand-in coach Bekithemba Ndlovu explained the poor performance by his team yesterday.
“The attitude and the mentality of the players was wrong. The players went into the match thinking we were playing a team that had been relegated, that we were playing young boys, but as the result showed, there is no small team in football,” Ndlovu said.
With five points dropped in the last two games, Ndlovu was a worried man.
“We are very worried with the rate we have been dropping points especially in the last two games. With the five points we lost, we could have been on top of the log. We created a lot of chances in Bulawayo (against Dynamos), but unfortunately we lost the match which was different from today’s match. We did not create enough scoring chances (this time).”
Motor Action was brilliant yesterday and at times it was difficult to believe that they were the same side who will be playing Division One football next season. Musona in particular, was dazzling on the right flank.
Too bad the skilful midfielder had to be taken off the pitch with five minutes remaining from an injury.
“This was an opportunity to express and market ourselves and I think we did pretty well,” Clive Sibanda who also had a good afternoon for Motor Action, remarked.
In a lively opening, Motor Action almost took the lead as early as the first minute, but Edward Tembo’s shot from inside the box slid across the face of goal.
Bosso’s reaction to the early probe was quick. Bruce Kangwa galloped forward and exchanged passes with Mthulisi Maphosa and Milton Ncube, but the final pass did very little to trouble the Motor Action defence.
Highlanders’ first real sight of goal came after 15 minutes and it resulted in the opener. A corner from the right side proved problematic for the home side defence to deal with and Masitara was at hand to nod home.
After a brief spell of pressure by Motor Action, they got their deserved equaliser. Musona’s curling free-kick from outside the box beat Highlanders goalkeeper Munyaradzi Diya, to torch wild celebrations from mainly Dynamos supporters who were rooting for a Motor Action victory for obvious reasons.
Emmanuel Mandiranga almost gave the Mighty Bulls a lead after 36 minutes when he was put through following a quick freekick, but Diya came off the line to make a crucial block.
Milton Ncube’s volley on the run on 43 minutes went just over as the two teams went to the break deadlocked.
Motor Action started the second half brightly with Musona very much involved.
On 53 minutes, Mandiranga shot wide after another brilliant run by Musona who had beaten Kangwa with a deft flick.
Wisdom Mutasa should have scored for the home side just after the hour mark when a rebound from Diya landed invitingly at his feet, but he somehow scooped the effort from some few metres out.
Musona continued to make a nuisance of himself, much to the delight of the home supporters who were cheering his every move.
He showed some quick feet to beat Maphosa who was left sprawling on the ground, before producing a delicate chip over the defence which the defenders failed to do justice to.
The final minutes saw Bosso pushing forward, but the creativity on the final third was missing.
Motor Action: D Bernard, P Bernard, D Walaza, G Moyo (C Kwaramba, 57min), E Mwanza, E Tembo, W Mutasa, C Sibanda, W Musona, E Mandiranga, S Hadebe.
Highlanders: M Diya, B Kangwa, E Mudzingwa, I Mapuranga, M Maphosa, D Ndlovu, P Moyo (S Munawa, 65min), M Mambare, B Ncube (H Masuku, 55min), M Ncube, M Masitara (O Zibande, 80min)