Stalemate at Rufaro

HARARE - If Dynamos fans needed confirmation that their title hopes were quickly turning into wishful thinking then there was no better affirmation than yesterday’s 1-1 draw with CAPS United that saw DeMbare bark but fail to bite.

The outgoing Zimbabwe champions played second fiddle in a match they needed all three points to close the gap on pacesetters Chicken Inn and perhaps gate crash the championship party.

They earned an unlikely point against the old enemy in a pulsating derby which hit heights compared to dour matches that the two teams had played before.

The Gamecocks, had thrown Dynamos a lifeline, 24 hours earlier, by drawing against relegation candidates WhaWha to move to 54 points.

But DeMbare failed to capitalise as they struggled against CAPS United in front of Zifa  presidential aspirant Philip Chiyangwa who had photographers jostling for a shot upon making a majestic entrance into the VVIP arena.

Looking for a win to push them to 50 points with three games to go, DeMbare instead, found the going very tough against a slick-passing CAPS United who should have bagged all the three points had they been clinical in front of goal.

If anything a draw was a welcome result for Tonderai Ndiraya’s charges as they were dominated by United for larger parts of the game before second half substitute Takesure Chinyama thrust  Dynamos into an unexpected lead.

It seemed it would be deja vu for the Green Machine who had battled well but failed to trouble Tatenda Mukuruva’s goal.

However, veteran of many derbies Leonard Tsipa would have the last laugh, rising high to head home Dominic Mukandi’s free kick and earn his side a point.
For six years, United had failed to fight back after going down to DeMbare but in-keeping with a bad season for the Zimbabwe champions, that soon became a statistic confined to the dust bins of history.
Now six points adrift of Chicken Inn, Dynamos coach Ndiraya has been left to believe in a miracle.

“I think it’s still game on,” he said. “But our chances are diminishing by each passing game. We need to win.

“We have not done that in the past three games. We have drawn three games in a row, so we have done ourselves no favours. It’s disappointing,” he said.

“Our focus now is on the NetOne Cup. We want to finish on a high. “We want to keep on fighting and at least add a trophy to our cabinet.”

His opposite number Lloyd Chitembwe felt his charges had Dynamos by the scruff of their necks and should have defeated the blue army.

“I thought we played well,” he said. “For me the most important thing is the future. We have control over the future I can’t concentrate on the past. I can’t single out any player, for me everyone gave it their all.”

United were quicker off the blocks, dominating the better of the exchanges in a midfield where Mukandi won every second ball.

And they could have been the first to break the deadlock, early in the match but Tsipa failed to find the target after getting to the end of Phineas Bamusi’s enticing cross.
Dynamos’ offense never really engaged into a high gear as they were left to rely on set pieces.

To their credit, Ocean Mushure was causing United keeper Jorum Muchambo all sorts of problems from corner kicks.
Ronald Chitiyo, who has proven to be the team’s trump card in recent time, pulling the side out of many fires, was never in yesterday’s game.

However, against the run of play it was Dynamos who grabbed the lead courtesy of the injured but still effective Chinyama.

Chinyama had limped onto the field as a second half substitute only 12 minutes earlier but the former Poland-based striker showed bags of experience with a sudden burst of pace down the middle to bury Chitiyo’s cross.

But United sprung back through an ingenious free-kick from Mukandi that was well directed by Tsipa past a diving Mukuruva in goals for Dynamos.

There was to be more drama in the end as Dominic Chungwa had a chance to give United the winner but his effort went over the bar.

Dynamos had a goal mouth action of their own with Farai Mupasiri’s effort bouncing off the cross bar, Chitiyo’s follow up shot being blocked by Muchambo before Mukanga’s acrobatic effort went over the bar.

In the end, the Harare derby was settled by a draw, throwing a spanner into Dynamos’ fifth straight title ambitions whilst giving the Green army renewed reason to believe in the end of Dynamos’ dominance.

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