Honey Chimutimunzeve scored a late goal for the army side but it was not enough as they were booted out of the country’s richest knockout competition by a team fighting relegation in the league.
The Cyanide Boys’ coach John Nyikadzino was even surprised that his team had progressed to the last eight past an in-form Rhinos side that had scored seven goals in their last match.
“First and foremost, I want to be frank with you, I’m surprised that we won this match because we are really focusing on the league,” Nyikadzino said.
“We fielded a second string side; most of the guys that played today are not playing in most of our games and I’m surprised we won.”
Rhinos had started the game on the front foot but were let down by poor finishing with Allan Gahadzikwa shooting wide from a Wellington Taderera cross in the third minute.
Masimba Mambare should have opened the scoring midway through the opening half but his shot from close range came off the crossbar.
Taderera made a meal of the rebound as his weak effort was cleared off the line by Nichrut defender Themba Ndlovu.
The home side was punished seven minutes before the break when Shepherd Sithole combined with Ndlovu on the right side.
Ndlovu then sent in a devilish low cross intended for Washington Pakamisa at the back post.
In a bid to block the centre, Jimu toe poked the ball past his own goalkeeper Ashley Rayners.
After the break, Rhinos coach Herbert Maruwa replaced defender Malvirne Mekiwa with their top goal scorer Lot Chiwunga.
From there on, the army side started to create a number of anxious moments for the visitors.
When it looked like Rhinos might find a way back into the game, Nichrut were handed a two-goal cushion in comical fashion in the 64th minute.
The entire Nichrut players were in their half as Rhinos pressed for the equaliser.
The home side tried to restart the attack by going back to Homora, who was inside the centre circle.
When the ball got to the Chauya Chipembere captain, Pakamisa applied a bit of pressure forcing Homora to play a back pass to his goalkeeper.
The back pass was awkward though forcing Reynars, who had moved out of his box, to try and control it with his feet.
It was a monumental failure as it sneaked past the Rhinos goalkeeper’s feet before it trickled into the empty net with Reynars giving chase.
Chimutimunzeve scored with a header from a Wonder Kapinda corner kick with eight minutes to go but they couldn’t find the equaliser.
Maruwa was evidently miffed by his team’s performance against a side they were expected to beat.
“I think we were supposed to win this one especially coming from a big win but I think it’s got to do with complacency especially in the first half,” he said.
“We tried to come back in the second half but again, we gifted them a second goal; it’s always difficult to chase a game.” Daily News.