Dynamos off to flyer

HARARE - Dynamos yesterday began their African Champions League campaign in typical fashion, with a convincing early stages win, to dispatch Lesotho Correctional Services and put one foot in the next round of the continent’s premier club competition.

Zimbabwean teams have historically found it easy against teams from the mountainous Kingdom over the years, and the Glamour Boys kept the record intact with an emphatic win as they embark on their quest to conquer the continent after disastrous performances in the last two editions of the Champions League.

Besides the positive start to the continental onslaught, the impressive win yesterday, hard-on-the-heels of a 2-1 Bob89 win over Highlanders, will also serve as a strong warning to Dynamos’ local rivals that despite losing key players during the off-season, DeMbare are not looking any weaker than the last two seasons in which they won a league and cup double.

As largely expected, and without a natural striker in the starting line-up Barcelona-style, DeMbare struggled in the final third while the absence of a proven playmaker in the post-Denver Mukamba era was also clearly visible.

But with forward Farai Mupasiri only being introduced late in the second half and the highly-rated new acquition Francesco Zekumbawire sitting out due to incomplete paperwork, scoring three goals under the circumstances will delight coach Calisto Pasuwa.

Captain Tawanda Muparati opened the scoring for the Glamour Boys in the first half, finding the top left corner to beat goalkeeper Sam Khetsekile with an unstoppable shot few metres outside the box.

Uganda international Boban Zirintusa doubled the lead for DeMbare with a powerful header before Partson Jaure sealed the victory with a delightful free-kick in the second half.

Dynamos showed their intention from the first whistle and they were all over their opponents, and it seemed just a matter of time before they scored.

The visitors never looked in it, and in truth, it was only a combination of poor finishing and sometimes good defending that prevented them from winning with a bigger margin.

Dynamos could have surged ahead as early as the eighth minute, but Muparati’s effort was punched back into play by the LCS keeper before Zirintusa’s re-bound was blocked for a corner.

Zirintusa had his header hit the cross bar from the resultant corner as the Basotho survived Dynamos’ raids.

Dynamos continued to rally forward in pursuit of an opener, but they were let down by their forwards Russel Madamombe and Zirintusa, who were operating as twin strikers.

Muparati put Dynamos ahead in the 19th minute with his trademark long range shots just outside the box after quick exchange of passes with Madamombe.

After the goal, rather frustratingly, though, Dynamos slowed down the pace of the game, allowing the visitors’ only real chance in the first half from a free-kick on 34 minutes, which was eventually tipped out for a corner by Dynamos goalie Gorge Chigova.

Soon after the breather, Dynamos could have doubled their lead but Murape Murape who had a good afternoon on the right side of midfield, failed to connect a Muparati cross from the left side.

DeMbare kept on pressing for the second, forcing LCS to defend deep in their half. Dynamos’ second goal finally came in the 59th minute when Zirintusa beat LCS keeper with a powerful header after connecting a Thomas Magorimbo cross from the right side.

Moments later DeMbare thought there were three up. Augustine Mbare, who was outstanding on the left side, sent an inviting cross which was met by Murape, whose effort hit the inside of the cross bar. Namibian referee Andreas Helmit did not award the goal and waved play on.

With Dynamos attacking to increase their tally, Mbara won a free-kick few meters outside the box. Defender Partson Jaure took the resultant kick, giving the goalkeeper no chance to register his first goal in Dynamos’ colours.

Substitute Farai Mupasiri had a chance of his own five minutes before fulltime, but he was thwarted by the advancing Khetsekile after being sent through Murape.

Zirintusa could have grabbed his brace but he sent his effort wide with only the keeper to beat in the dying minutes after being set up by Mupasiri, who did well to win the ball in the centre circle.

The Glamour Boys travel to Maseru for the return leg in two weeks.

TEAMS

Dynamos: George Chigova, Thomas Magorimbo, Augustine Mbara, Gift Bello, Partson Jaure, Devon Chafa, Cliff Sekete (Tichaona Mabvura, 68m), Russel Madamombe (Farai Mupasiri, 58m), Boban Zirintusa, Murape Murape, Tawanda Muparati.

LCS: Sam Khetsekile, Likano Teele, Tsepo George, Poloko Mahale, Ntobo Moitheri, Katleho Lethabele, Lieta Lehloka (Rankora Thabane, 73m), Kulosiso Nthonyama, Thulo Ranchore, Khoto Sesinyi, Ralekoti Mokhahlane. - Godknows Matarutse

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