BULAWAYO – Highlanders started their 2017 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season with a 2-0 victory over Bulawayo City at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
Two goals in the second half from in-form Prince Dube and Simon Munawa secured Bosso the maximum points.
After the match, Highlanders coach Elroy Akbay was pleased with the way his side had shifted gear in the second period to earn the 3 points.
“Three points is what is important for us. In the first half we played good football but we couldn’t score. We changed the strategy in the second half and managed to score two goals,” Akbay said.
“I was not happy with our performance in the last 20 minutes of the match, we didn’t play well. We were giving away too much possession which is not good for us.”
Bulawayo City coach Mandla Mpofu was optimistic with his side’s performance as they hope to make an impact in the new season.
“We were playing a big team and we learnt the hard way. Our strategy in the first half was to sit back and it worked. In the second half we opened up, pressing and we lost concentration,” Mpofu said.
“We are building a team; we might get some good results going forward. It’s 33 games to go and I am positive we will do well.”
Highlanders dominated possession from the onset with City choosing to hold a deep line hoping to catch them on the break.
Munawa could have opened the scoring for Highlanders in the 36th minute but Zibusiso Sibanda did well to deflect his shot for a corner kick.
A minute later, Highlanders felt hard-done by referee Nomore Masundire when he ignored their penalty appeals.
The shouts came after City defender Morris Kadzola handled the ball inside the penalty box in an effort to clear.
In the second half, Highlanders continued from where they left with Dube giving the City defenders all sorts of problems with his skill and speed.
His efforts were also complemented by his striking partner Roderick Mutuma, who has fit well in the Bosso squad.
Dube finally broke the deadlock in the 56th minute when he outpaced the City defence to reach a through ball before dribbling past goalkeeper Aaron Ngwenya to score into an empty net.
Three minutes later, Mutuma thought he had scored the second goal for Highlanders. He was, however, adjudged to have been in an offside position by the match officials.
It was after another good run from Dube, who beat two defenders and unselfishly set up the unmarked Mutuma inside the penalty box.
Munawa secured maximum points for Bosso in the 65th minute when again Dube beat two City defenders for pace on the left side of attack before sending an inch-perfect cross into the box.
Munawa had the easiest of tasks to tap the ball into the net with City defenders nowhere near the action.
City tried in vain to come back into the match after the introduction of Innocent Kutsanzira, Mkhululi Moyo and Ransome Pavari.
They really threatened Highlanders in the last 15 minutes of the match but could not break the defence marshalled by Peter Muduhwa and Benson Phiri.