By Eddie Chikamhi
CAPS United . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1) 1
Mutare City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (2) 2
GOALKEEPER Prosper Chigumba was the fall guy yesterday while the CAPS United coaching staff made a shock decision which all combined to see the Green Machine crashing to a shock Castle Lager Premiership defeat at the National Sports Stadium.
Makepekepe succumbed to first half strikes from Brian Chinhoyi and David Mangesi after Chigumba was sent off for a professional foul in the second minute.
Then, the hosts, chose to play into the hands of the visitors by withdrawing a defender when they threw in another keeper to replace Chigumba.
It was a shocking decision and it came back to haunt the Green Machine.
The teams observed a minute of silence in memory of CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe’s mother who passed away last week. The grieving Chitembwe was back on the bench yesterday although his assistants did most of the touchline duties.
But the match had hardly taken shape when Chigumba was penalised by referee Brighton Chimene after he handled the ball way outside the penalty box in a desperate attempt to stop Mutare City forward Mangesi.
CAPS United technical director, Nelson Matongorere, said the expulsion affected their game plan as Makepekepe had to deal with the numerical handicap after pulling out defender Carlton Munzabwa for substitute goalkeeper Cris Mverechena.
Makepekepe found themselves trailing by the 16th minute when former Dynamos development player Chinhoyi got the better of skipper Justice Jangano and unleashed a rising shot that gave the ‘keeper no chance.
Still the Green Machine kept fighting for the ball especially in midfield where Peter “Rio” Moyo has been outstanding of late.
Makepekepe could have equalised in the 38th minute, but their former goalkeeper Tafadzwa Dube made a stunning save to deny Kudzai Nyamupfukudza from close range.
But the visitors doubled their lead just before the half time whistle, when Mangesi punished the CAPS United defence with a well-struck effort to the bottom corner following a mix-up in their own area.
The hosts, however, managed to reduce the arrears before the breather when Nhivi was brought down by Gift Jimu and the referee pointed to the spot in time added on.
John Zhuwawu converted the penalty.
However, chances were few and far between for both teams in the second half as Mutare City held on to their lead.
“It was a bad day in office and I think the turning point was the red card. In the first two minutes our goalkeeper was entangled in that red card incident when he came off his line,” said Matongorere.
“This unsettled our game plan, what we had planned during the course of the week.
“We tried to regroup and I am quite happy with my guys. About 88 minutes playing with one man down, but we managed to minimise the damage and we tried to rescue the game by the tactical changes we made.
“Unfortunately it wasn’t our day today.”
But he should know that defence win games and their decision to pull out a defender when the keeper was expelled was a poor one.
Why Denis Dauda, another defender, spent the entire game on the bench will remain a mystery, especially in a game where the attacking replacements were poor.
This was Chigumba’s second expulsion in the last five weeks following the red card incident in the defeat against Chicken Inn at the giant stadium last month for a professional foul on Divine Lunga.
Mutare City interim coach Ndega Matsika said they capitalised on their numerical advantage.
“I think we played very well and I am very satisfied after beating a team like CAPS United, which has been on a roll, away from home. Obviously it’s a morale boost to our team,” said Matsika.
Former Warriors captain Willard Katsande was in the stands supporting his hometown club and said he had challenged them to beat both CAPS and Dynamos.
CAPS Utd: P. Chigumba, C. Munzabwa (C. Mverechena, 2nd min), V. Musarurwa, J. Jangano, G. Goriyati, D. Mukandi (B. Muzondiwa, 53rd min), K. Nyamupfukudza, M. Ncube (W. Mutasa, 58th min), P. Moyo, J. Zhuwawu, S. Nhivi.
Mutare City Rovers: T. Dube, P. Gumbo, G. Jimu, M. Watch, L. Mangayira, J. Takunda, M. Moyo (H. Zvakavapano (82nd min), K. Njovo, B. Chinhoyi (B. Kutinyu, 66th min), D. Mangisi, W. Pakamisa (J. Chitawira, 53rd min). The Herald