Dutchman Errol Akbay kept his fine record against Dynamos intact when he completed a double over his counterpart Lloyd Mutasa as he fought back in dramatic fashion to win this massive Castle Lager Premier Soccer League showdown at Barbourfields yesterday.
Akbay somewhat gave Mutasa a Baptism of fire when he handed the former Dynamosmidfielder a 2-0 defeat in a Week 8 future on May 28 at Rufaro.
Dynamos had until then maintained a 10-year dominance over Bosso and Mutasa was in May presiding over his third game after replacing out of sorts Portuguese gaffer Paulo Jorge Silva.
Yesterday Mutasa appeared to have been on course to avenge for that loss when Masimba Mambare thrust the Glamour Boys into the lead in the first half but it was three minutes of misery for Dynamos that saw Highlanders score two goals through headers by Tendai Ndlovu and Ralph Matema to cancel out that DeMbare advantage.
Ndlovu scored in the 76th minute from an Erick Mudzingwa cross before the seemingly ageless Matema who had come in for an ineffective Allen Gahadzikwa hit the back of the net from a cross by the outstanding central defender Peter Muduhwa.
It was against run of play and with Highlanders seemingly in control of the situation Mambare stunned Barbourfields when he scored with a simple tap in off an Obey Mwerahari header in the 28th minute.
The goal exposed Highlanders’ defensive shortcomings as they failed to deal with a harmless looking in swinger from the right. The match kicked off at a cracking pace with Dynamos calling the shots and as early as the first minute Muduhwa made a crucial save clipping the ball off the legs of left wingback Ocean Mushure who had overlapped.
On the 10th minute young strikers Nhlanhla Ndlovu and Prince Dube combined beautifully with Dube bringing in a dipping volley that saw Ndlovu going airborne but his header went wide.
Three minutes later, Denver Mukamba broke loose from the centre circle and raced towards goal with Honest Moyo chasing. Mukamba let loose a scorcher from the edge of the box which however, found Ariel Sibanda at his best.
A minute later Prince Dube beat three Dynamos defenders and took a crack at goal which Warriors international goalkeeper Tatenda Mukuruva punched for a corner. In the 17th minute the Prince and Nhlanhla combination was at work again as Bosso almost went ahead
Highlanders supporters were ejected off their seats after Rahman Kutsanzira’s cracker from outside the box hit the upright post with Mukuruva completely beaten. The home side continued to enjoy the lion’s share of the proceedings but failed to turn their dominance into goals as Dynamos seemed content with just holding back.
It was therefore a shock to even the Dynamos supporters when Mambare propelled the visitors into the lead in the 28th minute. The goal took some steam off Highlanders for a few minutes, probably still stung by the unexpected lead by their opponents.
The second half had no major action near the goal as both coaches made substitutions in a bid to change the game into their favour. Matema came in for Allen Gahadzikwa in the 58th minute while Lloyd Mutasa pulled out his son Wisdom and brought in Tichaona Chipunza in the 66th minute.
Amahlolanyama were back in the game in the 76th minute with a powerful header by defender Ndlovu. When the goal came, the stadium erupted and some fans were probably still celebrating when the second goal arrived three minutes later.
By then the home side were totally in control of the proceedings and could have added a third had Matema composed himself in the 84th minute when he came face to face with Mukuruva but failed to beat the Warriors goalkeeper.
Dynamos then laid siege in the Highlanders half as they desperately sought an equaliser that could have at least forced a share of the spoils. Instead it was the home fans who were breathing a huge sigh of relief when referee Nduna Nkosana blew for full time. Nkosana had a firm grip of the match.
“It’s heartbreaking to lose to Highlanders, my boys lost concentration at a crucial time,” said Mutasa. Akbay was full of praise for his players for a good show. “We played good football although that mistake cost us a goal. We needed this win to keep pressure on the leaders,” said Akbay.
Highlanders: Ariel Sibanda, Tendai Ngulube, Peter Muduhwa, Tendai Ndlovu, Honest Moyo, Erick Mudzingwa, Rahman Kutsanzira (Gabriel Nyoni 89th min), Allen Gahadzikwa (Ralph Matema 58th min), Nhlanhla Ndlovu, Prince Dube, Simon Munawa (King Nadolo 67th min)
Dynamos: Tatenda Mukuruva, Godknows Murwira, Obey Mwerahari, Marshal Machazane (Rodrick Mutuma 69th min), Ocean Mushure, Stephen Alimenda, Denver Mukamba, Dominic Mukandi, Wisdom Mutasa (Tichaona Chipunza 66th min)), Masimba Mambare (Valentine Ndaba 77th min), Takunda Sadiki