BULAWAYO – Marange Resources Women National Super League log leaders Black Rhinos narrowly edged Inline Academy in a seven goal thriller here yesterday.
Rufaro Machingura, Rutendo Makore and double-scorer Violet Bepete were on target for Rhinos while Inline got their goals from Nyasha Maroti and Rudo Neshamba, who scored a brace.
Rhinos now have 38 points from 15 matches and lead second-placed Mufakose by four points.
A goalkeeping error by the home side keeper Vanessa Lunga gifted the visitors with an early goal when she failed to hold on to a long range free-kick from Machingura after just two minutes of play.
And before the home side could recover from this early setback, the visitors doubled their lead two minutes later when Lunga was beaten by another long range effort from Makore.
An attempt to play out the ball resulted in Inline losing possession in their own half and when the ball fell for Makore. The big striker let loose a powerful shot that sailed past Lunga, who was off her line.
Nyasha Maroti managed to pull one back for the home side on 22 minutes when she headed home a good cross from the right flank by Sibonginkosi Nleya.
As the Inline fight back continued, Nleya won a corner kick on 32 minutes when she forced Rhinos keeper Process Chatsamwa to tip her ferocious effort over the bar. The resultant corner kick, taken by the most outstanding player of the day, Samukelisiwe Zulu, was met by the deadly Neshamba, who headed powerfully past Chatsamwa for the equaliser.
The two teams went into halftime deadlocked but Rhinos regained the lead on 59 minutes when Violet Bepete shot past Lunga after being teed up by substitute Shupi Juwao. Juwao replaced the misfiring Aldiglade Bhamu in the first half on 38 minutes.
Bepete grabbed her brace on 75 minutes when she headed home a cross by second half substitute Tariro Makumbe. That goal proved crucial as the home side refused to throw in the towel and reduced the deficit through Neshamba, who beat Chatsamwa at her near post on 89 minutes.
The second fight back by the home side proved to be too little too late as the match soon came to an end.
New Orleans 0 Mufakose 1, Faith Drive 0 Conduit 2, Chipembere 2 Flame Lily 1, Cyclone 3 Masvingo 0. – Sakheleni Nxumalo