By Augustine Hwata
Sometimes the game of football can be very cruel, especially when the better team of the day does not necessarily win the match.
For the second week in a row Dynamos struggled to find their rhythm but like champions they somehow managed to grind out an important victory when they edged Motor Action in a Castle Lager Premiership tie at Rufaro yesterday.
DeMbare were at the same venue last Sunday for a Mbada Diamonds Cup first round tie against Quelaton and were given a good run for their money by the lowly Bulawayo side before winning on penalties after the match had ended 1-1 in regulation time.
Callisto Pasuwa’s men put up one of their most lethargic performances this season but still rode on their luck to overcome battling Motor Action, who believe they should have earned least a point from the encounter.
But in the end a powerful first half header by Roderick Mutuma made the difference and ensured the Mighty Bulls returned to Motor Action Sports Club empty-handed
While Motor Action will be cursing the football gods, Dynamos are smiling at the same deities for helping them consolidate their position at the top of the log table with 52 points.
Dynamos’ hard won victory was made even more significant by the fact that their nearest rivals Highlanders also managed a crucial 1-0 triumph over Shabanie Mine at Barbourfields.
Mutuma scored the invaluable goal when he headed in a high ball, whipped into the box by Denver Mukamba from the left in the 37th minute. Mutuma, winner of the Golden Boot last season, has been struggling to score with the same regularity this year and his header took his tally to seven.
The lanky forward, however insisted he was not yet paying much attention to the number of goals he has scored.
“It’s more about team work and I am not looking at individual play. If I had not scored, someone else would have done the job.
“I knew that Denver was going to cross once he got into that sort of position. He has been doing that at training and the coaches told us to get into the box each time Denver gains such possession. And today, it has paid off.
“Dynamos are the champions and we have to play as a team to retain the championship,” said Mutuma.
Mukamba, who had a quiet game by the lofty standards he has set, beat Motor Action right-back Passmore Bernard on the far left and Mutuma was quick to react, heading past Ronald Mudimu despite the close attention of Morris Kadzola and Reuben Machaya.
Earlier on Motor Action had created the better chances as they were first to the ball in midfield where Dynamos’ Tawanda Muparati and the returning Milton Makopa struggled with their game.
Pasuwa was forced to make several changes to his regular side because of injuries and suspensions. The coach gave Desmond Maringwa, Makopa, David Kutyauripo and George Magariro places in the starting line-up.
Pasuwa had to contend with the absence of Devon Chafa, Partson Jaure, Thomas Magorimbo and Farai Mupasiri. Only Kutyauripo played well while Maringwa, Magariro and Makopa appeared rusty and allowed Motor Action to boss them around especially in midfield.
Deservedly the trio was later pulled out but it was Motor Action who were left to rue their missed chances.
Motor Action could have taken the lead in the 22nd minute when Congolese Yves Ebabali, Ngoni Maviri and Protasho Kabwe beat an off-side trap and charged towards the Dynamos goal. Zhokinyi saved the day when he thwarted Ebabali’s effort for a corner while Dynamos also had their moment in the 29th minute when the lively Kutyauripo made an strong run on the right and then cut in a cross for Mukamba who tried to connect first time.
While Mukamba’s idea was brilliant, he lacked precision as the ball whistled over the bar with Mudimu beaten.
Mudimu, however, was alert when he collected a low shot by Martin Vengesayi following a DeMbare counter raid in the 31st minute and the Motor Action goalkeeper was called again to make a superb save and deny Maringwa what could have been a goal in the 33rd minute.
Dynamos’ resilience was rewarded when Mutuma got to the end of Mukamba’s cross but at that stage of the match, Motor Action hoped they had a chance to save the game in the second half.
Former Dynamos forward Norman Maroto was brought in to add to the fire-power but still the Bulls lacked both composure and precision with the final ball.
It became nervy for Dynamos towards the end as Motor Action threw everything at them but the Harare giants who even had the upright post to thank, hung on until the final whistle. Motor Action manager Joey Antipas gave credit to his players for fighting hard.
“We threw everything at Dynamos. We created enough chances and we got into the box. I thought at least we deserved a goal but I must give credit to Dynamos for defending hard,” said Antipas.
Dynamos assistant coach Tonderayi Ndiraya admitted that it was not an easy victory. “I thought Motor Action gave us a good run and we have always played close encounters against them.
“I am glad at the end of the day we got the three points and that’s what we wanted. It was a nervy ending and our guys stood their ground,” said Ndiraya.
Ndiraya said they struggled because of injuries and changes to the team adding that they are now shifting their attention to their mid-week assignment against Chicken Inn on Wednesday. The Herald
Dynamos: G. Chigova, D. Kutyauripo, O. Mushure, G. Zhokinyi, G. Magariro (G. Bello 54th min), R. Mutuma, D. Maringwa (M. Murape 75th min), M. Makopa (T. Mamvura 81st min), D. Mukamba,
Motor Action: R. Mudimu, I. Masame, P. Benard, B. Chimwamuchere, M. Kadzola, E. Tembo, Y. Ebabali, M. Mburayi (N. Maroto 71st min), P. Kabwe, R. Machaya, N. Maviri (M. Ncube 78th min).
Other results at a glance
Saturday: Black Mambas 1, Chicken Inn 1; Monomotapa 3, Hwange 0; FC Platinum 0, Caps United 2
Sunday: Hardbody 1, Gunners 1; Highlanders 1, Shabanie Mine 0; Dynamos 1, Motor Action 0; Blue Rangers 3, Quelaton 1; Buffaloes 0, Harare City 0