BULAWAYO – A solitary strike by Zimbabwe international midfielder Silas Songani earned visiting Harare City a 1-0 victory over hosts How Mine in a Castle Premiership encounter at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday.
Songani found the target on 19 minutes with a brilliantly worked out effort that hit the roof of the net and gave How Mine keeper Ephraim Mazarura no chance.
UNSTOPPABLE: Harare City winger Silas Songani, left, beats Thembani Masuku of How Mine during Sunday's match at Barbourfields Stadium. Picture: Auntony Zinyange
How Mine's central defence pairing of Gilbert Banda and Herbert Dick's attempt to initiate a move from the back backfired when Dick was robbed of the ball by City skipper Godfrey Nguwodzawo, who launched an attack that culminated in Songani firing home.
This result means City have remained within the leading pack as they kept pace with log leaders Highlanders and second placed Dynamos.
The city fathers are tied on 45 points with DeMbare and trail Bosso by two points with five matches left in the season.
Harare City were the first to threaten after four minutes when Osborne Mukuradare found himself at the end of a quality cross by Songani but failed to direct his header on target from close range.
And in reply How Mine striker Simba Sithole hit the upright from an acute angle on 10 minutes.
Songani then opened the scoring after combining with Nguwodzawo and Crybert Muvuti and later on Nguwodzawo had a chance to make the game safe minutes before the half time break but hit the upright with the goal at his mercy.
After the breather How Mine's otherwise impressive linkman Menard Mupera blew a chance to equalise for the hosts when he missed from the penalty spot.
The spot kick had been awarded after referee Rugare Kusosa ruled that City defender Crispen Dickson had hauled down goal bound How Mine striker Simba Sithole inside the penalty box.
Harare City keeper Maxwell Nyamupangedengu guessed correctly and punched Mupera's kick out for a corner which the hosts failed to utilise.
The Sunshine Boys were able to weather concerted bouts of pressure that were being exerted by the hosts and held on for a crucial win.
Bigboy Mawiwi, the City coach, hailed his charges for returning to winning ways.
"Naturally I am happy with the win and playing at Barbourfields was good for our game plan because the pitch is perfect for a passing game.
"We had started to be under pressure before this game because we were playing well but failing to get the results and this victory will take us a long way as far as the championship is concerned," Mawiwi said.
How Mine coach Philani "Beefy" Ncube blamed fatigue for his team loss.
"We have played three games in seven days and fatigue is catching up with us but we have to go back to the drawing board and come back stronger," Ncube said.
How Mine: Ephraim Mazarura, Xolisani Moyo ()Warren Dube 26 min, Khumbulani Banda, Herbert Dick, Gilbert Banda, Nyasha Mukumbi, Ocean Mpofu (Qinani Sibanda 71 min, Menard Mupera, Thembani Masuku, Siza Dube (Timothy January 26 min) and Simba Sithole
Harare City: Maxwell Nyamupangendengu, Munyaradzi Nyenye, Tongai Chiworeso, Crispen Dickson, David Kutyauripo, James Jam, Silas Songani (William Manondo 68 min), Crybert Muvuti, Godfrey Nguwodzawo, Osborne Mukuradare (Talent Chawapihwa 68 min), Nathan Ziwini