BULAWAYO – Highlanders are through to the quarterfinals of the Mbada Diamonds Cup after dismissing Triangle 3-2 in an exciting first round encounter at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday.
Promising striker Gabriel Nyoni scored a brace for the Bulawayo giants in the first half before Njabulo Ncube netted the winner in the second half to earn Bosso a berth in the next stage of the competition.
Charles Makoto and the exciting Pascal 'Ovidy' Manhanga were on target for Triangle who impressed many neutrals with their attacking brand of football.
The match kicked off at a blistering pace with Nyoni opening the scoring as early as the second minute off an assist by Mthulisi Maphosa.
Nyoni found himself in the referee's record book again after five minutes when he was booked for kicking the ball well after the whistle had gone.
Triangle refused to be intimidated despite the early setback and Makoto got them on level terms after 16 minutes when he capitalised on some lax marking by the Highlanders defence.
Former Bulawayo Chiefs striker Nyoni was back in the referee's book on 32 minutes but this time for a good reason after scoring his second of the day to restore Bosso's lead.
The National University of Science and Technology student finished off a move that was started by Mthulisi Maphosa.
Both sides continued to create chances in the second half but it was Highlanders who extended their lead when veteran Ncube finished off a cross from the hardworking Bruce Kangwa on 55 minutes.
Manhanga ensured that the match remained a contest when he pulled a goal back on 63 minutes.
The gap toothed midfielder finished off a Makoto effort that was punched onto his path by Highlanders keeper Munyaradzi Diya.
Highlanders were a man short at the time as their skipper Innocent Mapuranga was on the sidelines receiving treatment for a head injury.
Triangle's second goal exposed Bosso's frailty at right back and Lawson Nkomo was duly sacrificed with his place being taken by Eric Mudzingwa.
That change steadied the ship for the Bulawayo giants and they held on to progress to the quarter final stage of the competition.
Highlanders head coach Kelvin Kaindu hailed his charges for scoring three goals past Triangle but said there is need to tighten up things at the back.
"It’s a good thing that today we managed to score three goals and it shows that we have been putting up a lot of work on our finishing.
"The disturbing thing is that we conceded two times and that could be a sign that we have been concentrating too much in rectifying our scoring problems and have neglected to work at improving our defending," Kaindu said.
Kangwa was selected by journalists as the man-of-the-match and was given a trophy and $500.
Highlanders: Munyaradzi Diya, Lawson Nkomo (Eric Mudzingwa 70 min), Bruce Kangwa, Dumisani Ndlovu, Innocent Mapuranga, Simon Munawa, Mthulisi Maphosa, Peter Moyo (Hillary Madzivanyika 76 min), Milton Ncube (Beaven Chikaka 64 min) Gabriel Nyoni and Njabulo Ncube.
Triangle: Ashley Rainers, Brian Juwayeyi, Blessing Chimwamuchere, William Mapfumo, Norman Togara, David Sengu, Charles Makoto, Limited Chikafa (Richard Kawondera 70 min), Pasca Manhanga, Lameck Nhamo (Courage Denias 54 min) and Misheck Mburayi.