Tsholotsho . . . . . . . 0
Highlanders . . . (1) 1
HIGHLANDERS’ central defender Teenage Hadebe’s long-range effort caught Tsholotsho goalkeeper Mariyoni Chang off-guard to give the Bulawayo giants their first set of three points in an exciting Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
It was a harmless looking ball in the 34th minute, spectacular if Hadebe had spotted that Chang was off-position and a good mistake for the Bosso defender if he was just pumping the ball forward in attack, but the backpedalling Tsholotsho goalkeeper watched as the ball went past him to decide the match.
Bosso shot to position nine on the log table with one defeat after losing 0-2 to ZPC Kariba at Gwanzura Stadium last week. Tsholotsho are on position seven.
New boys Tsholotsho, who last week beat Harare City in their first game in top flight, played better football than Highlanders in the first half, knocking the ball around, but the game is won by scoring. Bosso goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda’s first touch was only in the first half optional time.
Butholezwe Ncube and Ocient Ncube troubled Highlanders in the centre where they were disjointed in the first half and Bosso coach Bongani Mafu admitted after the match that they were outplayed by the league debutants.
“It was a hard-won game. The opposition had a good build-up play, but did not trouble our goalkeeper. They (Tsholotsho) had good interplay and we have to work hard on our finishing. We created so many chances and could have won it in the first half,” Mafu said.
Bosso pumped the ball forward in search of Gabriel Nyoni and Thomas Chideu without much build-ups coming from the midfield.
Tsholotsho FC gaffer Lizwe Sweswe said his boys played well despite the loss.
“We played well, but it was not our day. We played according to our strategy. Midfielder Gerald (Takwana) was too defensive and he did not click and that’s why we had to remove him,” Sweswe said.
Takwana was replaced by Nixon Gama in the 61st minute.
Bosso could have scored as early as the 24th minute, but Obadiah Tarumbwa scooped the ball over the bar inside the 12-yard box facing an empty goal mouth from a Chideu miscue after the striker had collected a Bruce Kangwa cross.
Nyoni shot wide a minute before the break with only Chang to beat after he was set up by Chideu.
Highlanders came back rejuvenated in the second half and they were all over Tsholotsho and Chideu overpowered central defenders Thandolwenkosi Ncube and William Stima before unleashing a screamer, but second assistant referee Anthony Siyavunda had his flag up for offside.
Kangwa was denied by Chang in the 89th minute from a rebound with substitute Nqobizitha Masuku also sending his effort over the bar in the 90th minute from a Nyoni pass inside the box.
Tsholotsho: M Chang, M Phiri, N Moyo, T Ncube, W Stima, G Takwana (N Gama 61st minute), B Ncube, O Ncube (D Chivunduko 83rd minute), S Gorogodyo, K Chitiyo, K Machazane
Highlanders: A Sibanda, W Chingodza, M Maphosa, T Chideu, E Muzanenhamo (N Masuku 68th minute), O Tarumbwa (W Ndiweni 40th minute), B Kangwa, T Hadebe (D Sibanda 70th minute), F Chindungwe, H Moyo, G Nyoni