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 Highlanders…….......................................... (0)1
Chocco 80th
Leopard……….........................................… (0)0

LOBAMBA – To the about 500 Mbabane Highlanders fans on the left side of the Somhlolo National Stadium main stand, Xolani ‘Chocco’ Sibandze’s 80th minute stunner was so sweet like chocco-late.

In a tightly contested game, for prolonged periods, a draw looked the most possible outcome. ‘Chocco’ pulled the rabbit out of the bag with a treacherous 35 yards out strike that hit the underside of Phephisani Msibi’s cross bar and over the line for the only goal of the match, as the ‘Black Bull’ recorded their third win of the season, leapfrogging to seventh placed on the MTN League standings.
The song ‘Gwaza Nkunz’emnyama’ reverberated across the Somhlolo National Stadium at the sound of referee Mbongeni Simelane’s final whistle, proving the win was the sweetest imaginable.

To add icing on the celebrations were news coming from Mavuso Sports Centre, that their sworn bitter rivals Mbabane Swallows had huffed and puffed before settling for a goalless draw against Matsapha United.
At least for now, Coach Alou Badara’s job is safe. It was the perfect response following a 1-0 big derby defeat two weeks ago.
The game had started on lightning speed and Highlanders should have been on the front foot a minute after the quarter hour mark, but centre back Mncedisi Dlamini ballooned over the bar with a goal beckoning from a low Frank Antwi cross. Highlanders’ goalkeeper Sidumo Vilakati showed great reflexes to deny Barry Steenkamp’s acrobatic finish after 26 minutes for a fruitless corner.

Mcolisi ‘General’ Lukhele thought he has given Leopard the lead at the stroke of half time but his ferocious strike from outside the big box bounced off the cross bar, with Barry sending a follow up shot on the rebound unmarked from six yards out in what could be a miss of the season.

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