ALL things come to an end — How Mine found out the hard way against Highlanders at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday with Ariel Sibanda’s heroics denying the gold miners in an enthralling Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match.
HOW MINE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (0) 1
HIGHLANDERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1) 2
With their first win over How Mine, Highlanders maintained top spot with 27 points — one ahead of Dynamos and Caps United who won 2-1 against Black Rhinos and Chicken Inn respectively over the weekend.
Goals from Gabriel Nyoni in the 21st minute and Simon Munawa in the 74th minute broke the jinx although Edmore Muzanenhamo scored the consolation three minutes from time for How Mine.
For a few minutes during half time police details tried to bring an ugly situation under control when supporters in the Soweto end threw missiles onto the pitch as How Mine players were preparing to pray on the Bosso goal line.
And that, according to assistant coach Sheunesu Chaka, affected his team.
“Every team dances to its own culture and during half time we went to the goal area to pray, but the supporters thought otherwise. That was not football. Our players were injured in the process. Menard (Mupera) was injured and he had to nurse another injury during the match while Xolisani (Moyo) was hit on the neck. It really affected us,” he said.
How Mine were without head coach Philani Ncube who was attending a Caf A licence coaching course.
Elated Highlanders coach Kelvin Kaindu said they were happy with the result.
“It is good that we collected maximum points. Last season we failed to get points against them. I did not have a problem with the young players who came in. They have been playing well. Anything can happen in football,” he said.
How Mine had their own chances in the first half of the match with the earliest effort coming seven minutes into the match, but Wonder Sithole’s long-range effort went wide.
Three minutes later Charles Sibanda’s cross inside the box was met with a header by Nyoni, but he was denied by the crossbar.
In the 21st minute Nyoni found the back of the net from a cross by an impressive Valentine Ndaba that had first eluded Sibanda.
Following the goal, How Mine piled on the pressure as they searched for an equaliser and in the 32nd minute Timothy January took advantage of a defensive blunder by Dumisani Ndlovu, who struggled throughout the match, but his shot went wide.
Eight minutes later Sithole’s free-kick after a foul on January outside the box grazed the bar.
At the stroke of half time Sibanda had to make a desperate save to keep Mupera’s point blank shot out after the veteran midfielder had dribbled past two Highlanders defenders inside the box.
Six minutes after the breather Sibanda was put to the test again when he had to punch away another Mupera shot.
Mupera could not finish the match as he limped off the field and was replaced by Emmanuel Mandiranga in the 70th minute. Kuda Musharu, who had been a thorn in the flesh for Sibanda had his effort saved three minutes later.
But as How Mine piled on the pressure, the gaps left at the back and on one such occasion, Munawa shrugged off the challenge of two defenders to unleash a long-range shot that beat Mazarura, who was injured in the process.
Mazarura was replaced by Nonjabulo Notice Dube.
Sibanda denied Moyo another point blank effort in the 83rd minute as Thabani Bhamala awarded How Mine a free-kick inside the box following a foul by Welcome Ndiweni on Sithole, but January hit the wall.
Muzanenhamo pulled one back for the home side three minutes before time when Mandiranga beat Munawa on the far side to send in a shot which was volleyed into the net, but that was as far as they could go as Highlanders held on for a famous win.
How Mine: E Mazarura (N N Dube 77th minute), J Chitereki, B Dube, G Banda, G Magariro, X Moyo, W Sithole, M Mupera (E Mandiranga 70th minute), K Musharu, T January, T Masuku (E Muzanenhamo 59th minute)
Highlanders: A Sibanda, S Munawa, C Sibanda (G Makaruse 79th minute, K Mutizwa (W Ndiweni (59th minute), B Kangwa, I Mapuranga, D Ndlovu , V Ndaba, H Madzivanyika, G Nyoni , J Ngodzo (K Nadolo 72nd minute)