HARARE – Dynamos shot to the top of the Castle Premiership log after a last gasp 1-0 victory over Highlanders in an incident packed encounter at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday.
Ocean Mushure converted a penalty with three minutes left on the clock to help the defending champions wrest back the top post from Harare City.
TUSSLE: Dynamos forward Patrick Khumbula, left, tries to work his way past Innocent Mapuranga of Highlanders during yesterday's match at Barbourfields Stadium. Picture: Auntony Zinyange
Dynamos and second placed Harare City are tied on 48 points while third placed Highlanders are a point behind.
Matches between Dynamos and Highlanders are always tension filled and yesterday’s encounter was no exception as signs of tension were evident soon after the curtain raiser that featured both sides’ development sides.
An attempt by BancABC official Desmond Ali to put on a show of unity by having both sides approach the Mpilo and the Soweto ends while holding hands in a show of harmony backfired when the Dynamos players let go of their Highlanders counterparts and proceeded to do the Zora Butter dance.
The Bosso development side players then turned around and made their way to the Soweto end where they acknowledged their fans.
Ali then tried to get the Dynamos juniors to approach the Soweto and Empankweni ends but they were met with boos and jeers from the Bosso faithful.
The drama continued when the main match kicked off with both teams finishing an ill-tempered first half a man short after Dynamos defender Partson Jaure and Highlanders striker Njabulo Ncube were expelled by match referee Thabani Bamala for fighting.
And in a moment of madness Jaure then attacked the match official but was restrained by his teammates and the melee that ensued lasted for some five minutes.
Jaure and Ncube were expelled on the half hour mark when the latter retaliated to a stomping attack by the earlier.
The visitors were forced to make a forced tactical change after Jaure’s dismissal with giant defender Victor Kamhuka coming in for veteran midfielder Murape Murape.
This was a wise move by the Dynamos technical bench because Murape was already sitting on a yellow card after being cautioned on 27 minutes for dissent.
Dynamos had begun the match the better of the two sides but Highlanders managed to soak up the pressure and after about five minutes of play the pendulum swung in the hosts’ favour.
Bhekimpilo Ncube headed over Bosso’s first real chance of the day before Dynamos keeper George Chigova denied Ncube from point blank range towards the end of the first quarter.
Dynamos were not sitting back though and in response they had efforts by Washington Pakamisa and Patrick Khumbula narrowly missing the target.
The second half of the match was an energy sapping affair as both teams began to feel the effects of being a man short.
Bheki Ncube could have thrust the hosts ahead three minutes after the restart but missed the target from a few yards out after the Dynamos defence had hesitated to clear a harmless looking ball by Bosso right back Erick Mudzingwa.
Both sides had no option but to make changes to rest some tired legs some 10 minutes after the restart with Highlanders bringing on Gabriel Nyoni for Bheki while Dynamos introduced Cliff Sekete for Khumbula.
The Dynamos change was more effective as Sekete started to perform some fetch and carry duties and Washington Pakamisa’s header cannoned off the crossbar with Highlanders keeper Munyaradzi Diya a mere bystander on the hour mark.
Bosso were quick to respond and Mambare let his team down by taking too many touches when the best option was to shoot first time after the hard working Bruce Kangwa had combined with Peter Rio Moyo to create a goal scoring opportunity.
The breakthrough for the visitors came after Highlanders skipper Innocent Mapuranga was substituted with 10 minutes to go to full time due to an injury that he suffered after a tussle for the ball with Dynamos wingback Oscar Machapa and his replacement Hillary Madzivanyika failed to measure up.
Dynamos began to pile on the pressure and Mushure, who had a quiet game by his standards waltzed into the Highlanders penalty box and was brought down by Bosso anchorman Mthulisi Maphosa.
Referee Bamala had no option but to point to the penalty spot and Mushure took up the responsibility and scored the winner for the Glamour Boys.
Highlanders assistant coach Bekithemba Ndlovu blamed missed chances for his team’s loss while Dynamos head coach Kallisto Pasuwa said he would not get carried away by yesterday’s win but would continue taking each game as it comes.