KUDAKWASHE MAHACHI’S miscued cross from a harmless looking ball seven minutes into the second half earned Highlanders maximum points against determined Harare City as the Bulawayo giants leapt back to the top of the log standings in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
Highlanders . . . (0) 1
Harare City . . . . . . . 0
Mahachi strode past Harare City’s left-back Tongai Chiworeso and attempted a cross with a rare right footer which eluded goalkeeper Nomore John as the Bosso attacking midfielder registered his third goal of the season to hand the visitors their seventh defeat in eight matches.
City remain rooted on the bottom of the table with a mere three points.
Highlanders are now square on 16 points with How Mine, who have gone on a six-match unbeaten run after thumping Caps United at Luveve Stadium on Wednesday. Highlanders are leading on a superior goal difference before the weekend matches.
Harare City, however, managed to contain Highlanders during the match, but failed to break for goal with Bosso shotstopper Ariel Sibanda virtually on holiday.
Highlanders assistant coach Mark Mathe admitted that Harare City gave them a hard time. He said they were looking forward to collecting maximum points again as they head to Mutare for Buffaloes on Sunday.
“Indeed a difficult game. Harare City were compact on defending and sealed the centre, but we weathered the storm. We failed to use our wings today (yesterday), but we improved in the second half. We look ahead to another tough match against Buffaloes taking into consideration that they lost their last game, but we are going there to compete and hope to come back home smiling,” Mathe said.
Midfielder Peter “Rio” Moyo had a terrible day in the centre with Bosso failing on fluidity, but that improved when Welcome Ndiweni came in for Ozias Zibande in the 73rd minute.
Harare City head coach Bigboy Mawiwi was impressed with his boys and said he was not under any pressure at all after losing seven matches and believed his side would come right soon.
“We played very well. Our game plan worked. We contained Highlanders. We are not under pressure at all. We are going to start winning. Highlanders’ goal was a wonder goal, but there are a lot of positives for us. The zeal to win games is there, but we knew it was always going to be tough playing Highlanders,” He said.
Substitute defender Raymond Uchena, who came in for injured Munyaradzi Nyenye, after colliding with Bosso captain Innocent Mapuranga, received his marching orders for a second bookable offence from referee Munyaradzi Majoni eight minutes before full time.
Mapuranga had to play with a bandaged head. He did not last the match and was replaced by Felix Chindungwe in the 53rd minute.
Highlanders: A Sibanda, S Munawa, B Kangwa, D Ndlovu, I Mapuranga (F Chindungwe 53rd min), E Mudzingwa, R Kutsanzira, P Moyo, O Zibande (W Ndiweni 73rd min), M Ncube (C Sibanda 53rd min), K Mahachi
Harare City: N John, M Nyenye (R Uchena 32nd min, red card 82nd min), T Chiworeso, A Chivheya, D Kutyauripo, C Dickson, N Ziwini, J Jam, M Vengesayi (C Muvuti 59th min), W Manondo, T Chawapiwa (M Mburayi 61st min)