Mutare — BUFFALOES collected their first set of maximum points at home when they edged a battling Shabanie Mine in a Castle Lager Premiership soccer match at Sakubva yesterday.
Although they managed to win away at Morris Depot in Harare against Black Mambas, in the three matches they played at Sakubva before yesterday's encounter, Buffaloes lost to Monomotapa 1-3, settled for a 1-1 draw against Highlanders before they were outplayed by Dynamos 2-0.
Interestingly, while Mutare soccer fans celebrated their team's first win at home yesterday, the visitors Shabanie were left brooding over the misery of their maiden defeat of the season.
Buffaloes coach Saul Chaminuka's charges opened the scoresheet early in the third minute when an otherwise impressive Philemon Mudena clumsily hacked down goal-bound Berven Chirere and Rusape-based referee Robert Mugorosa duly pointed to the spot.
And up-stepped long-serving Buffaloes defender and dead ball specialist Dananai Chinowawa who made no mistake from the penalty spot to propel his team into the lead.
The Mutare-based army side could have doubled their lead in the 20th minute when striker Lloyd Katongomara got to the end of a defence-splitting pass from Prosper Matizanadzo but the former lacked precision as he put his effort wide off target.
A minute later, the visitors had an opportunity to restore parity when a Buffaloes' defender handled the ball just outside the box but Mudena skied his effort wide.
With Shabanie Mine playing an entertaining brand of attacking football and piling pressure on their hosts, Erea Phiri almost found the target in the 35th minute when he fired a blistering shot from close-range but Buffaloes were kept in the lead, thanks to defender Themba Ndlovu who dived and diverted the ball away to safety with his chest.
Luke Masomere's men then found the equaliser in the 66th minute when unmarked former FC Platinum player Nelson Maziwisa connected Tarisai Rukanda's cross.
However, lanky Buffaloes midfielder Matizanadzo did justice to a beautiful cross from Katongomara when he toe-poked home a beauty from close-range to hand the Mutare army side their winning goal of the match.
Buffaloes coach Saul Chaminuka, who was of late facing criticism for failing to win matches at home, was a relieved man and commended his troops for a spirited display.
"I think we managed to play well as a team. My boys really played according to instructions and I am obviously happy about the result. We were failing to win matches here at Sakubva and I was really worried about that coming into this match.
"All I emphasised to our players is that they need to keep their confidence and play their usual game. I am happy they did just that and we got the three points we desperately needed.
"This was a confidence booster on our part and among our fans. I honestly hope that we will continue winning our matches at home."
Shabanie Mine coach Masomere refused to give a post-match interview insisting that he could be misunderstood.
"I do not think it is proper for me to make comments. I am afraid I will be misunderstood. Let me just keep quiet," said Masomere.
However, it is the conduct of some unruly Shabanie Mine supporters, who failed to stomach their team's defeat at the hands of perceived minnows, which was a bad advert to the game of football.
A seemingly prominent dreadlocked Shabanie Mine fan, sporting his team's replica jersey, spat into the face of Buffaloes assistant coach Shadreck "Father" Mugurasave thereby sparking wild scenes of violence and police had to intervene to save the situation.
H. Bere, D. Chinowawa, P. Alfasi, T. Ndlovu, P. Matizanadzo, R. Mwenga (K. Zhokinyu 48th minute), B. Chandisaitra, B Chirere,
V. Twaliki, G. Mchiwa (M Fenyeak 76th minute), C. Masocha, P. Mudena (K. Kwasi 76th minute), T. Mombeshora, W Ngonya, N Maziwisa, R. Mware, T. Rukanda, E. Phiri, B. Dimanji.
Buffaloes ........................(1) 2
Shabanie Mine..................(0) 1