BULAWAYO – Two first half goals from Prince Dube and Roderick “The Prince” Mutuma ensured Highlanders retuned to winning ways after a 2-0 victory over Triangle in a Castle Lager Premiership match yesterday.
The Bulawayo giants had lost painfully in the last minute to city rivals Chicken Inn last month the last time they were at Barbourfields Stadium.
Their last league encounter against FC Platinum in Zvishavane was abandoned due to crowd trouble in added time with the scores 1-1.
With the win, the Bulawayo giants moved into sixth place on the log with 20 points from 10 matches to trail leaders Ngezi Platinum by six points.
Bosso coach Erol Akbay was pleased with the way his side had responded following the disappointments in recent weeks.
“I’m very happy today because I got three points which are important at this stage. If I was to draw or lose again I was going to fall on the log standings,” the Dutchman said.
On the other hand, Triangle coach Taurai Mangwiro was disappointed with the way referee Happy Mabhena handled the match.
Mangwiro was particularly incensed by the decision by Mabhena to wave play on when a Bosso midfielder King Nadolo appeared to have handled inside the box in the second half.
“You might have seen a big decision (penalty decision) in the second half, had we been given that decision perhaps things could have gone our way but somehow because the referee is trying to control the game he doesn’t want the fans to be riotous,” Mangwiro said.
“The referee is failing to make the right decision because he wants to control a riotous crowd and it’s very unfortunate for the teams that are going to travel here for as long as we have this kind of atmosphere. Where is our football heading.”
Due to the recent incidents of crowd trouble at Highlanders matches, there was an unprecedented large number of police officers providing security at the match.
And according to Mangwiro, the decision to inundate the venue with law enforcement agents turned the ground into a warzone and it unsettled his players.
“Highlanders used the opportunities that came their way and punished us but I have some reservations in as far as the atmosphere is concerned,” he said.
“The heavy presence of police, I don’t think football needs all this, I know it’s for the safety of fans but when the players see that scenario, what is it, are we here for sport or war.”
Turning to the game, the hosts opened the scoring in the ninth minute through the impressive Dube.
The Warriors forward received a pass from skipper Rahman Kutsanzira outside the box before outpacing his markers to beat Triangle goalkeeper Ronald Mudimu.
Bosso continued to play some beautiful football as they dominated the Sugar Sugar Boys but were let down by poor finishing in front of goal.
One such disappointing moment was in the 28th minute when Roderick Mutuma was released by Simon Munawa following a good build up.
Mutuma was one-on-one against Mudimu but shot straight at the visitors’ goalkeeper when he had the entire net to aim for.
The Bosso forward finally got it right on the stroke of half time when he headed home a cross from Bukhosi Ncube.
While the second half produced some entertaining football, no goals came either way despite numerous attempts at goals.