From Ricky Zililo in Bulawayo
Relegation haunted Quelaton showed their intent of going down with a fight by putting up a satisfactory performance and in the process snatched a valuable point against a rejuvenated CAPS United during yesterday’s Castle Lager Premiership soccer match at Luveve.
The struggling Bulawayo side had their goalkeeper Winston Chiwetu to thank as he denied the former champions numerous scoring opportunities that kept Quelaton in the game.
CAPS United could have taken the lead in the 22nd minute after Leonard Fiyado was brought down inside the box and referee Munyaradzi Majoni duly awarded a penalty. But Rahman Kutsanzira’s shot from the spot was pushed away for a corner by the impressive Chiwetu.
Three minutes later, Simba Manwere deservedly put Quelaton into the lead after getting to the end of a Marshal Machazane cross from the right.
The lead only lasted two minutes as former Highlanders and University of Pretoria striker Nqobile Mpala equalised for CAPS United by tapping home a hard and low ball from Kutsanzira who had dribbled past three Quelaton players.
Farai Sibanda, the Quelaton gaffer, was happy with his team’s overall performance.
“I am happy with the result and now our focus turns to our next game. We are going to continue fighting until the end of the season . . . We will fight until the last game of the season.
“I am also happy with the players’ performance but we failed to click in the second half unlike in the opening 45 minutes where we played the ball around and our play was flowing,” said Sibanda.
Quelaton’s players were on top of the game and in the 5th minute Manwere should have put his side ahead but failed to connect a perfect cross from Mhleli Sibanda. They showed no ghost of inferiority complex against CAPS United but failed to make the most out of the few scoring chances which they created.
CAPS United woke up from their slumber in the 22nd minute when Fiyado raced for a long through ball and was brought down inside the box as he was going for the kill. But Kutsanzira was casual in his approach to the penalty and Chiwetu made a save which kept Quelaton in the game.
In the 25th minute, Quelaton’s Eddy Nkulungo was brought down just outside the left side of CAPS United’s box and up stepped Machazane who sent in a good cross which eluded the Green Machine’s defence and the ball fell on Manwere’s feet who directed it into the net.
The visitors were not deterred as they regrouped and Kutsanzira made up for the earlier miss by setting up Mpala who drew level for the Harare visitors in the 27th minute.
The second half saw CAPS United creating better chances than the home team but found Chiwetu a hard nut to crack. In the 77th minute Chiwetu denied Charles Chiutsa from close range and in the 85th minute the impressive goalminder kept Quelaton in the game with a fine save off a Fiyado shot from close range.
“We want to look at this game as two points dropped rather than a point gained. We knew the game was not going to be easy and I must say our performance today was not up to scratch.
“We are not safe from relegation and what I have been telling our guys is that we have to do our own job because the opportunity for us to gain ground is there,” said Taurai Mangwiro, the CAPS United coach, after the game. The Herald
Quelaton: W Chiwetu, W Chiramba, Z Sibanda, E Nkulungo (T Mugumanya, 87th minute), I Kutsanzira, G Mleya, M Sibanda (Z Dambo, 71st minute), M Machazane, T January, S Manwere, P Tshuma
CAPS United: I Chiwara, L Fiyado, T Kumbuyani, R Kutsanzira(D Rediyoni, 61st minute), N Mpala (S Kawondera, 71st minute), T Munyanduri, A Nhongo, P Tafirenyika, B Zabula, H Zvirekwi.
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