By Tadious Manyepo
Dynamos ………………………..(0) 2
CAPS United …………………… (1) 1
A tactical half-time substitution proved the masterstroke as Dynamos took a huge leap in their fight against relegation with a polished second-half show helping them clinch a come-from-behind victory over rivals CAPS United at an exciting Harare Premiership derby at Rufaro yesterday.
Kingston Nkhatha and Valentine Kadonzvo’s second half strikes overturned Joel Ngodzo’s first half tap in and gave the blue half of the capital the bragging rights.
The Glamour Boys had endured a five-game winless run, collecting just two points out of a possible 15 to leave them hanging in the drop zone and needed to put in a shift in their outstanding fixture to retain control of their own destiny with only five matches before the season comes to its business end.
And they did just that, when least expected, against their fiercest rivals, themselves chasing a top-four finish, in a game they went to the breather on the back-foot via a Ngodzo effort, two minutes before the half-time whistle.
With the way DeMbare were totally outplayed in the first stanza, coach Lloyd Chigowe needed to dig deeper into his tactical pocket and he drew what proved to be the answer to a near woeful first half performance.
He sought to add more fire-power upfront, pulling off an out-of-sorts James Marufu and a wasteful Emmanuel Mandiranga for Kadonzvo and Nkhatha respectively.
And the move paid off as the pair grabbed the goals which secured the crucial win which helped the giants take their points-tally to 34 and climb four places up the ladder.
Yet, by the time Dynamos crawled back into the match, the Green Machine, whose coach Lloyd Chitembwe made queer substitutions on resumption, should have been at least three goals to the good but DeMbare’s in-form goalkeeper Simbarashe Chinani kept them in the game.
Chinani first denied Valentine Musarurwa from point-blank range in the 26th minute before following that with another top-drawer technique to thwart Wisdom Mutasa eight minutes later.
But there was no way he could stop Ngodzo from hitting the back of the net after Brian Muzondiwa’s firm header off a perfect-height cross by Musarururwa had come off the post, and Dynamos defence failing to clear their lines.
DeMbare were however, back into the match just four minutes after the break, Nkatha’s diving header off a cross by a suspiciously off-side Quality Kangadzi bringing them level.
The goal breathed life into the Glamour Boys, who by then were bossing the midfield, utilising the space created after Dominic Mukandi, who was having a game of his life in Makepekepe colours was pulled off.
DeMbare also seized on the gap created by the departure of veteran defender Method Mwanjali later in the second period.
And their second half industry paid off 15 minutes before time, Kadonzvo volleying home a cut-back from fellow substitute Blessing Moyo to send Dynamos fans into wild celebrations.
Chigowe was over the moon after guiding his charges to a famous win which could prove key to their survival bid.
“I am naturally elated especially considering that we played well against a tough opponent in the mould of CAPS United. The opponents have guys with a lot of experience and to see my charges coming through for the team’s cause is always pleasing,” said Chigowe.
“We had to make one or two tactical changes to restrict CAPS United from starting play from the back and also that we add more firepower upfront and I think it worked well as the boys responded perfectly.”
He bragged that he is the Messiah Dynamos probably needed at a time when they are fighting for dear lives in the top-flight.
“I think I am the man for the job, to save the team from relegation. I have told the boys that all the games we are to play are always like a cup final.
“We had no any other option than to collect the maximum points from this match.
“I am sure we will survive the chop. The win helped us take a big step towards survival. Going forward, though I think there is still a lot of work that needs to be done,” Chigowe said.
Chitembwe was disappointed with the loss and credited DeMbare for showing more hunger than his charges who missed on an opportunity to cut the gap between them and fourth placed Triangle to within a point.
“The difference was in the fight, Dynamos showed more fight than us and that was very defining. At the same time, I just want to allude that it was probably our poorest performance this season,” said Chitembwe.
“I am quite sure a number of our players didn’t play to the occasion and that was the difference in as far as the mental attitude is concerned and I am sure we didn’t have that and once your mind is not in it, your concentration is really affected,” Chitembwe said.
He defended the substitutions he made saying it was just one of those days when things do not go one’s way after effecting tactical alterations.
“It wasn’t about the substitutions I am sure the performance was not up to the standard that we wanted even in the first half.
“I know what my boys are capable of doing but today they never came to the party and that was really the difference. As for substitutions, we have always been making substitutions whether at half-time or any period of the game but at the end of the day it’s the responsibility of those who would have been given the opportunity to go out there to perform.
“I think Hardlife (Zvirekwi) gave his best and I also have a feeling that John (Zhuwawu) gave us more than what we were getting from Wisdom (Mutasa).
“In as far as Method’s (Mwanjali) substitution is concerned, it wasn’t by design, as he had indicated to the team doctor that he wasn’t feeling well, so we had no choice but to pull him out.
“That substitution showed us that experience is crucial in some moments of the game. After we pulled Method out, it really exposed us and I am very disappointed with our application and as I said earlier, Dynamos showed more fight than us as they were hungrier than us.”
The win by Dynamos was also a sweet revenge as they were downed 0-1 in the reverse fixture at the National Sports Stadium.
Dynamos: S. Chinani, P. Dube, P. Makaha, J. Tigere, M. Machazani, J. Marufu(V. Kadonzvo 46th min) , G. Saunyama, G. Mukambi, K. Kumwala, E. Mandiranga (K. Nkhatha, 46th min) , Q. Kangadzi (B. Moyo, 74th min)
CAPS United: P. Chigumba, S. Makatuka, K. Nyamupfukudza, J. Jangano, M. Mwanjale(H. Zvirekwi 46th min) 46th min), C. Kamhapa, V. Musarurwa, J. Ngodzo, B. Muzondiwa, D. Mukandi (M. Katsvairo, 60th min), W. Mutasa (J. Zhuwawu, 46th min). The Herald