Ray Bande in Rusape
Manica Diamonds 1- 1 Highlanders
MANICA Diamonds coach Luke Masomere was a relieved man after his team scored a last-gasp equaliser to share the spoils with a determined Highlanders at Vengere yesterday.
The hosts celebrated the equaliser as if they had won league championship.
The Gem Boys, as Manica Diamonds are affectionatey known, had gone for four matches without finding the back of the net.
And, yesterday, they needed an 89th minute equaliser, which was their first goal in 450 minutes of play.
“I think, we played well as a team but, unfortunately, we could not score goals,’’ said Masomere.
“When we start scoring like this, it brings back the confidence. We hope to work from here to ensure that we get more goals otherwise we are playing well.’’
An-out-of-sorts Tendai Mukono could have propelled the Mutare side into the lead early in the 12th minute but headed the ball way off the target from close range.
It was the visitors who then made the most of a rare scoring opportunity that came their way in the 17th minute.
Ray Lunga’s long range cross found its way into the net, leaving Manica Diamonds goalkeeper Jorum Muchambo well beaten.
Manica Diamonds could have found an equaliser but striker Stanley Ngala and midfielder Mukono wasted some fine chances.
With time ticking away, Manica Diamonds’ left back Pritchard Mpelele’s scorcher then found its way home just a minute before the end of regulation time.
Highlanders coach Bekhitemba Ndlovu, who was standing in for technical manager, Mandla Mpofu, praised his players for a spirited display.
“I think, I am happy with the way my players applied themselves but I am not happy with the result.
“For us, it is two points dropped than a point gained. We would have wanted to win this one but somehow we allowed our opponents to come back.
“Football is a game that involves mistakes and I think we paid dearly for the mistakes we made towards the end,” he said.
Manica Diamonds: J Muchambo, L Masibera, N Tachi, P Mpelele, C Munzambwa, L Jesi (G Timoti 75th min) , T Jefrey, R Mufudza, T Mukono, S Sibanda, S Ngala (E Chingondi 79th min).
Highlanders: A Sibanda, C Siamalonga, A Silla, B Banda, C Kapupurika, R Lunga, N Masuku, P Muduhwa, T Ndlovu, M Ndlovu, P Dube.