BULAWAYO – A new-look Highlanders side produced a sterling performance to dispatch 10-man Hwange 3-0 in a Castle Lager Premiership match at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
After the chastening 3-0 midweek defeat to Black Rhinos, Bosso coach Erol Akbay chose to give young players Brian Banda, man-of-the-match King Nadolo and Godfrey Makaruse a start ahead of the senior players.
In the dugout, Akbay also had a new faces besides him after the suspension of goalkeepers’ coach Cosmas “Tsano” Zulu and assistant coach Amini Soma Phiri following their nasty quarrel in front of players after the Rhinos defeat.
The club’s development team coach Melusi Mabeleka Sibanda was the stand-in assistant coach. Bosso got their goals from Banda, Nadolo and substitute Prince Dube to take their tally to 23 points.
Akbay was impressed with his side’s victory.
“It’s very good because we needed the three points very hard. Even now we are already in top eight but our position now is not good for Highlanders,” he said.
“We played well early in the first half until we got a goal but after that we played the same style as theirs. In the second half we really played well and we were more compact.”
Highlanders opened the scoring in the 12th minute through a beautiful goal scored by Banda after a good team move that also involved Makaruse, Nadolo and Rahman Kutsanzira.
Banda hit a first time shot that hit the top corner of the net that gave Hwange keeper Taimon Mvula no chance.
In the second half, Hwange tried to get back in the game as they attacked with a lot of numbers in search of the equaliser.
The visitors’ momentum was, however, stalled after Collen Muleya was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 68th minute.
Muleya had initially been cautioned for fouling the same player Kutsanzira just two minutes after the break.
With a man advantage, Highlanders were all over Hwange and it was no surprise when Nadolo scored the second goal 14 minutes before full time.
It was another good team move that saw Dube teeing up Nadolo for a simple tap in. Dube then sealed the victory for Highlanders two minutes later with another good goal off a Ralph Matema through ball.
After the game, Hwange coach Nation Dube said: “There are a lot of positives that I see in the team. We will continue working hard and I always tell the boys the results will come. We will fight to the end to avoid relegation.
“The red card was the turning point today. We were in the game but after the red card, we were out of the game.”