By Grace Chingoma
RESURGENT CAPS United ended Gunners dominance over them and compounded their Harare rivals Castle Lager Premier Soccer League relegation woes at Gwanzura yesterday. CAPS United have over the years found it hard to beat Gunners in their league meetings.
Yesterday, they however finally found a formula with a goal either half from Nqobile Mpala and Hardliffe Zvirekwi. The Green Machine found the opener in the 30th minute through midfielder Zvirekwi and 10 minutes later via Mpala’s effort.
Gunners quickly pulled one back in the 43rd minute when Moses Muchenje converted from the penalty spot after CAPS United midfielder Tendai Samanja had handled in the box. The win saw CAPS United bouncing back to winning ways after managing draws in their last two league matches against Monomotapa and Quelaton.
Taurai Mangwiro’s charges began the match on a high tempo and the young midfielder, Zvirekwi, returned to haunt his former team when he shrugged off to slot the ball into the far net beyond the reach of Gunners goalkeeper Clayton Dombo.
After the early lead, the hosts continued asking the Gunners defence some questions and in the 32nd minute David Rediyoni failed to bury a perfect chance after receiving a fine delivery from Mpala.
The CAPS United onslaught continued and former Highlanders and Pretoria University forward Mpala extended the Makepekepe lead when he received a cross from Tapuwa Kumbuyani and sent a perfect header into the nets.
However, Gunners made sure they went to the break with their comeback the match very much alive after Makepekepe defence battled to clear the ball out of safety and in the desperate attempt Samanja handled in the box and referee Robert Mugorosa awarded the spot kick which was well taken by Muchenje who sent CAPS United goalkeeper Itai Chiwara the wrong way.
After the breather, it was a close contest with either team having a fair share of chances. Another Mpala header towards the end slightly missed the target after another fine cross from Zvirekwi who had another good outing. In the 55th minute Gunners striker Ishmael Lawe’s effort was saved by the goalkeeper as the visitors sought for an equaliser.
But the miss of the day and a perfect chance to equalise came in the 89th minute when substitute Tapiwa Mangezi received a fine delivery from Abel Gwatidzo but the seasoned player with the keeper to beat disappointed.
CAPS United assistant coach Mkhupali “Mr Cooper” Masuku said it was a cautious match where they managed to utilise their first half chances.
“We are in the mud together so it was difficult but at the end of the day we won as we utilized our first half chances. We didn’t want to make lot of mistakes. The win is a boost to us as the teams behind us lost yesterday,” said Masuku.
Gunners coach Moses “Bambo” Chunga who appeared unmoved with his sinking ship bathed into the attention of CAPS United fans as they cheered him on after the match and reciprocated and a visitor would have mistaken him for the winning gaffer Mangwiro.
“When I took over, the problem is, we have not been utilizing our chances. Especially, when fighting relegation it becomes difficult. Again it has been the sloppiness in my defence which cost us the match. The first goal my defence was caught in sixes and sevens and the second one nobody challenged for the ball so you get punished,” said Chunga. The Herald
CAPS United: I. Chiwara, A. Nhongo (A. Chivheya 48th minute), B. Zabula, T. Munyanduri, T. Kumbuyani, T. Samanja, H. Zvirekwi, D. Rediyoni (E. Chafungamoyo 64th minute), H. Zvirekwi, N. Mpala, L. Fiyado(C. Kawinga 89th minute).
Gunners: C. Dombo, P. Chinungwa, W. Kamudyariwa (A. Gwatidzo 71st minute), M. Muchenje, I. Lawe, W. Gondo, V. Ndaba, T. Dephistra (T. Mangezi 61st minute), O. Muchingura, M. Demera, M. Kunyarimwe(E. Raphozo 78th minute).