BLACK Rhinos Queens moved an inch closer to winning the Marange Women's National Soccer League when they dismissed Inline Academy 4-3 in a top-of-the-table clash at Luveve. The victory saw the army side opening up a four-point lead with three matches to go.
But Rhinos are not popping the champagne yet.
Rhinos raced to a 2-0 lead in the opening four minutes courtesy of goals from strikers Rutendo Makore and Rufaro Machingura.
But, to their credit, the hosts recovered and a brace by Rudo Neshamba levelled terms in the first period.
Inline Academy coach Shadreck Mlauzi said the high-profile match lived to its billing.
"It was an exciting game full of tension with both sides approaching the game with a positive mentality. We were rather too generous and inside four minutes we had conceded two goals.
"But my girls had to dig deep and drew level in the first period. But it was not to be and they couldn't cope with the physical nature of our opponents in the second half.
"They (Rhinos) should be crowned champions and we don't expect miracles from the other teams they will play and we will just try to salvage something from the remaining matches," said Mlauzi.
Rhinos host another Bulawayo side New Orleans at One Commando tomorrow.
Coach Thomas Chinyan'anya said his focus was now on the mid-week tie.
"The league will only be won on December 5, the last day of the season, as all the teams have improved," said Chinyan'anya.
"We are supposed to work hard.
"The weekend match was really competitive and we relaxed a bit but regrouped in the second half.
"Inline are a good side, they play a passing game but our experience also helped us.
"We will treat the next game the same as the other matches we have played and we have to fight up to the end."
Langton Giwa's Mufakose Queens reclaimed second position on the log after a solitary strike by Rutendo Madongorero sunk New Orleans 1-0 at White City.
New Orleans 0, Mufakose 1; Faith Drive 0, Conduit Soccer Academy 2; Chipembere Queens 2, Flame Lily 1; Cyclone Stars 3, Masvingo Queens 0; Inline Academy 3, Black Rhinos 4.
Conduit Soccer Academy v Inline Soccer Academy (Madhodha,11am); Masvingo v Faith Drive (Mucheke 10am); Flame Lily v Cyclone Stars (Lafarge); Mufakose v Chipembere (Hellenic, 11am); Black Rhinos v New Orleans (One Commando, 11am).