BEITBRDGE – Harare City scored two goals in two minutes to storm into the last four of the Mbada Diamonds Cup after defeating Hwange 2-0 at Dulibadzimu Stadium on Saturday.
In a 120 seconds blitz, City got their opener in the 67th minute through captain Godfrey Nguwodzawo, who only made it into the starting XI after passing a late fitness test.
Impressive Nathan Ziwini then took the game out of the coalminers reach seconds later with a header that beat an exposed Takabva Mawaya in goals for Hwange.
How the shortest man on the pitch rose highest to get to the end of that long throw in is in itself a sign of how off colour and out of sorts Chipangano were yesterday.
Chipangano summed up their miserable afternoon by missing a penalty moments after Ziwini’s goal, that would have at least blown wind into their sails.
Crispen Dickson had needlessly brought down Gilbert Zulu inside the box prompting referee Makonese Masakadza to point to the spot.
Up stepped usually reliable penalty taker Gerald Zulu but just like his teams uninspiring performance the Hwange captain held his head in disbelief as Maxwell Nyamupanendegu dived to his right to punch the ball back into Zulu’s path.
Zulu’s second bite of the cherry was again sublimely tipped over for a corner by a recovering Nyamunadengu.
Hwange, who earned their place in the quarter finals after beating FC Platinum 1-0 in the first round of the Mbada Diamonds Cup, were never really in the game from the onset.
The coalminers looked a pale shadow of the team that humiliated premiership log leaders Dynamos a fortnight ago and spent most of the first half chasing the game with City in control.
City on the other hand vindicated their recent slump in form in the premiership that has seen them go for five games without a win.
The uneven Dulibadzimu pitch took away the flair from both sides performance as teams had to resort to long balls to make any meaningful inroads.
But Sunshine Boys adapted quicker to the pitch and temperatures that soured above 36 degrees Celcius in this border town.
The Sunshine Boys wrestled control of the game as early as the eighth minute when Nguwodzawo thought he had thrust his side into the lead with a glancing header only for assistant referee Salani Ncube to wave for offside.
Man-of-the-match Ziwini, Trymore Nyamadzawo and Osborne Mukuradare all came close in a first half that dominated the exchanges.
City would eventually surge ahead in the 67th minute courtesy of 28-year-old Nguwodzawo, who beat an offside trap to head in Ziwini’s perfectly weighted cross.
Seconds later, Tongayi Chiworeso’s long throw in was headed into the back of the net by Ziwini with Hwange’s defence out at sea.
The drama was however not over as Hwange were thrown a life-line through a penalty awarded as the match teetered to an end which they failed to convert.
Whilst City will now be plotting to lift the richest Cup competition in the land, Hwange were left to undertake the 662 kilometre journey back home contemplating on what could have been.
“We defended badly,” is how Hwange coach Nation Dube summed up his sides poor showing.
“Maybe it was complacency on our part seeing that we have been picking up points in the league but we have to pick ourselves up.”
Harare City coach Bigboy Mawiwi said he was not thinking much about who they will face in the semifinals.
“Only God can decide that, we just have to keep on concentrating winning every game we play.”