By Tadious Manyepo
Referee Yasini Yasini flashed two red-cards after tempers flared at the stroke of half-time as 10-man Harare City tasted defeat for the first time under Lloyd Chitembwe in this Premiership tie at Rufaro yesterday.
Chitembwe had masterminded two victories since taking charge of the Sunshine Boys a fortnight ago.
But Wisdom Mutasa’s strike, four minutes from time, put a stop to that run.
The former Caps United gaffer, who saluted his charges for a spirited second half show, pointed to the dismissal of Ishmael Wadi as the turning point of the game.
Wadi was expelled after he remonstrated by poking Marvellous Mukumba in the face following a crude tackle on him.
Not sure of what had happened, Yasini had to consult his first assistant, Bongani Gadzikwa, and the ensuing chaos saw Wadi charging at Mukumba who had been carried off.
With the entire Black Rhinos bench up, goalkeepers’ coach Britto Gwere also latched onto Wadi as the situation turned chaotic.
Gwere was dismissed for the unprofessional contact, the latest episode of the indiscipline that has been creeping into this Rhinos side after wild events at their match against CapsUnited.
Only police intervention restored sanity.
Rhinos, chasing their first win in five games, then took control of proceedings after the resumption.
Despite the soldiers’ relentless attacks, Harare City defenders stood firm but then Mutasa made the difference.
The midfielder, on loan from Manica Diamonds, had only been included in the starting team because Moses Demera fell during warm-up.
Mutasa, playing against his former coach Chitembwe, cooly chested down a Wellington Taderera precise cross before fooling his marker and picking his spot for the goal.
“I am very happy with the performance of the boys but I’m sure the deciding moment was when Ishmael (Wadi) was red-carded.
“But, all the same, I salute the boys for their attitude. As long as we are in football, we were bound to lose, these things do happen in this game.
“I also think fatigue affected the boys,” said Chitembwe.
Black Rhinos coach, Hebert Maruwa, hailed his charges for easing the pressure on him.
The army side, on 33 points, are now just five points behind leaders Chicken Inn.
“I am quite impressed by the boys’ performance.
“We did everything at training and implemented it well in the game, I salute the boys,” he said.
But that was before Chitembwe and Maruwa had been involved in a slanging match as the former was giving way for the latter in the post-match Press conference.
Apparently, Chitembwe wasn’t happy with some pre-match rituals by Black Rhinos, which he said Maruwa was part of.
B Mwandimutsira, J Mukombwe, F Banda, B Homora (G Saunyama 82nd min), A Tandi, A Gahadzikwa (W Kapinda 56th min), M Mekiwa (O Mukuradare 67th min), M Mukumba, W Mutasa, W Taderera, F Zekumbawira
K Shangiwa, M Machazani, W Manondo, M Diro-Nyenye, M Muchenje, T Chimwemwe, R Uchena, T Tavengwa, J Chipangura (W Muvirimi 90th min), M Vengesai (T Tumba 90th min), I Wadi. The Chronicle