By Augustine Hwata
Dynamos . . . . . . . . (0) 1
Shabanie . . .. . . . . . . . . 0
DIMINUTIVE midfielder Ronald Chitiyo fired a wonder strike late and reckoned that the intensity in the Castle Lager Premiership marathon had now become a pressure cooker as champions Dynamos laboured to victory at Rufaro yesterday.
DeMbare, who struggled to move into top gear, needed a moment of magic from the former Monomotapa man as they finally broke Shabanie’s resistance after 85 minutes of play.
Chitiyo admitted after the game that it had been a difficult afternoon for the champions and believes that all their remaining assignments would get even harder as no team from either end of the log table can afford to easily drop a point.
Just when it seemed that Dynamos had exhausted all the tricks they had without success to breach goalkeeper Victor Twaliki’s goal that was ably protected by a rearguard marshalled by the outstanding and yet seemingly ageless Zvenyika Makonose, Chitiyo turned on the magic to break the Shabanie hearts.
It was due reward for Chitiyo’s industry on the afternoon where he had earlier on made a handful of attempts at goal without success, but he finally hit the target when he gained possession on the left channel, made a deft touch to create space for himself before he fired a sizzling effort past Twaliki.
Shabanie knew the significance of getting at least a priceless away point against the champions and defended in numbers with Makonese hardly putting a foot wrong while he showed his leadership qualities by constantly organising his side.
But there was nothing the former Warriors centre back could do as Chitiyo’s moment of sheer brilliance was the straw that broke the camel’s back five minutes from time.
Crucially for Dynamos the goal and the victory did just enough to help them retain their place at the top of the table as anything short of a win would have seen ZPC Kariba, who thumped Highlanders 3-1 at Hartsfield hit the summit.
Dynamos had also anxiously seen off colourful Roderick Mutuma spurning a golden chance to hand the lead after just three minutes into the game.
But after toiling against the fighting asbestos miners, it was Chitiyo who came to the Glamour Boys rescue and the midfielder revealed that he was eager to lay his part to help Dynamos win the championship, which would also guarantee him a first league medal in his career.
“We are happy as Dynamos because as we are heading in the championship race, we need to collect three points in each and every game.
“It’s important to get maximum points at home and it was good today especially because we were playing against a team that is fighting relegation. Shabanie came here fighting because they want to survive. They did very well on their part,” said Chitiyo.
It was certainly not one of Dynamos’ best performances in the league this season, but for Chitiyo it was important that they managed to grind a result.
“We have to realise that we don’t have to lose matches at this stage of the season because all the top teams want to win.
“Our city rivals CAPS United won yesterday (Saturday) which shows that it’s no longer safe to drop points. So it’s very crucial that we win our next game, as well and the one which comes after that until we come to the end of the season.
“Yes we have won today but that one game cannot win us the league title. We have to push hard in our remaining matches in order to lift the title,” said Chitiyo.
Chitiyo, for all the time he has held the domestic Premiership spellbound with his talent, still does not have a championship medal to show and he certainly does not want the bright chance to slip away now.
Rooney as he is affectionately known by his fans and teammates, made his name at Monomotapa, but they were bridesmaids to Dynamos in the championship race and now he has joined the Harare giants and believes he is making an impact.
“It’s (the goal) a product of what we do in training. Sometimes we train on shooting and since we were in the dying minutes of the game, there wasn’t much time left and it needed us to shoot the ball from all angles. I just tried it and I am happy it worked,” Chitiyo said.
Dynamos coach Callisto Pasuwa was naturally excited at getting three points, but was quick to point out that there is no room for complacency in the remaining matches.
“We have to keep up the momentum. As you can see from the way the other teams are playing, we need to win all games at the end of day,” said Pasuwa.
The win pushed Dynamos to 46 points, two ahead of ZPC Kariba who stunned Highlanders yesterday while CAPS United are in third place on 42.
Pasuwa, who left for a Confederation of African Football 2014 World Cup review conference in Egypt last night, said Chitiyo made an invaluable contribution to their success yesterday.
“We have been keeping Ronald in the team and he is one player who can make something out of nothing. Shabanie were compact and they were defending, I could say with 10 men and we were not getting that space to pass the ball and we had to attack from the wide areas.
“The deliveries on the wide was a little bit scrappy but I am happy we collected three points,” said Pasuwa.
Shabanie are starring relegation and coach Jairos Tapera admitted that the fate was no longer entirely in their hands to survive.
“Now it depends with how the other teams are going to fare. We have to do our best and we will treat each game as it comes. We are playing Chapungu in the next game and every game will come with its own ingredients,” said Tapera.
Tapera had reservations in the way Dynamos got their goal as his player Wellington Kamudyariwa was down with an injury.
Kamudyariwa went down after a challenge from a Dynamos player and his inertia allowed DeMbare to gain the numerical advantage on their raid which resulted in the goal.
“They got their chance, only one chance, a right cut-in and they got their goal. We have to accept it.
“Kamudyariwa was in real pain and there was nothing we could do but I thought that the referee should have stopped play when he saw the player down. I do not know where Fair Play is these days?
While Tapera might have cried for “Fair Play’’ his team had been allowed to continue with the game and could have in fact scored when Dynamos goalkeeper Artwel Mukandi was left sprawling on the ground after getting a knock.
In fact Shabanie striker Carlos Messi struck the cross bar with Mukandi writhing in agony.
“I cannot say Dynamos were wrong to continue their attack or that we were also wrong to play on, but I am only saying Fair Play should be practiced either by the referee or by us,” said Tapera.
Shabanie could have held to draw but its seemed Tapera’s decision to pull out veteran midfielder Rowan Nenzou gave Dynamos the edge in midfield although the Chinda Boys’ gaffer believe otherwise.
“We work we these players and I know that they get to certain time when they would not be able to give us what we want,” said Tapera.
But with a little bit of precision, Dynamos could have scored more goals with Mutuma missing the best chance in the third minute when he directed his attempt wide when it was easier to beat Twaliki who had spilled a free-kick by Oscar Machapa.
Tafadzwa Rusike and Chitiyo also made an impression with their almost telepathic combination while Machapa’s booming crosses found no finishers.
Shabanie slowed down the game but had their moments too, especially in the 25th minute when Mukandi made two saves while lying on the ground.
Dynamos: A. Mukandi, T. Magorimbo, T. Ndlovu, A. Mbara, R. Chitiyo, O. Machapa, T. Okocha Fireyi (T. Muparati 51st minute), W. Pakamisa, D. Chafa, R. Mutuma (A. Gondo 70th min), T. Rusike (C. Sekete 67th min)
Shabanie: V. Twaliki, G. Murwira, T. Majo, D. Sibanda, Z. Makonese, D. Sibanda, A. Tavarwisa (B. Pamhirwa 65th min), R. Nenzou (G. Saunyama 72nd min), X. Ncube, C. Messi (L. Ngara 76th min), S. Muchapera. The Herald