Highlanders coach Madinda Ndlovu says he will shield his players from criticism despite conceding one of their heaviest defeats in recent seasons.

Highlanders lost 4-0 away to Chapungu in a match that was marred by violence that led to a 28-minute stoppage.

“I will not crucify my players for this defeat because such things happen in football. It was just a bad day in the office. The turning point was the penalty miss, and it was now hard to rise above that,” said Ndlovu.

“I am not condoning the throwing of stones, but I understand the frustration of the fans. They can’t continue watching the team lose the match.”

Nigel Makumbe missed a penalty in the first half before Edmore Muzanenhamo struck in the second period. After the goal, irate Highlanders started throwing missiles on the pitch, causing the play to be stopped.

After the resumption, Chapungu increased their lead through Philip Marufu, Allen Tavarwisa and Clive Rupiya.

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