Makepekepe close gap

HARARE - CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe yesterday admitted that his charges are firmly in the Castle Premiership title race after overcoming battling reigning champions Chicken Inn here to pile pressure on log leaders FC Platinum. 

A Leonard Tsipa’s solitary strike from the spot-kick in the second half was all the Green Machine needed to ensure maximum points while closing the gap on log leaders FC Platinum to just one point.

Norman Mapeza’s side had opened a four-point lead at the top 24 hours earlier when they beat How Mine by a similar score-line but yesterday’s result means Makepekepe are now on 46 points with the platinum miners at 47 with seven matches left before the season ends.

“It was a very good game of football from both teams,” an elevated Chitembwe said after the match. Obviously, I am very much delighted with the way we applied ourselves.

“We needed the result and we got exactly that. I though our ambition remains the same, we have always wanted to be champions and it’s very clear considering the way we are grinding out results.

“We have a good chance just like any other teams in the league. We are extremely happy with the situation that we found ourselves into today. Our chances are very realistic. They are as good as FC Platinum’s, Highlanders, I don’t know Dynamos.

“We have been very consistent and I am sure if my memory saves me well we have never been out of the top three ever since the season started so that tells you about our ambitions and intentions,” he said.

The Green Machine made a bright start controlling the game especially in the midfield where Devon Chafa, Moses Muchenje and Joel Ngodzo got the better of Chicken Inn’s congested midfield.  

Ngodzo could have sent the home side ahead as early as the fifth minute but he fired his shot wide from the edge of the box. With CAPS piling the pressure, Divine Lungu almost beat his own goalkeeper after his header, under pressure to clear a Simba Nhivi cross, crashed against the cross bar on 18 minutes.

Muchenje had his own chance to put CAPS ahead but again sent his effort wide of goal on 26 minutes after being set up by Ronald Pfumbidzayi. Sensing danger Rahman Gumbo replaced Tafadzwa Kutinyu with veteran Guide Goddard to stabilise things in midfield.

The Gamecocks came back a much improved side in the second half with Matawu causing all sorts of problems. It was CAPS United however, who went on to score on 58 minutes from the spot-kick through Tsipa after Chicken Inn defender Lawrence Mhlanga handled inside the box under pressure to clear his lines.

Both teams went on to create good scoring chances but in the end the Green Machine hung on for the crucial three points.

Gumbo felt it was a balanced game.

“I think it was a balanced game. We had our chances but we couldn’t score which could have turned this game around,” Gumbo said after the match.

“But CAPS got their chance and scored and football is decided by goals. We have to regroup and look forward to the next game.”

Teams:

CAPS United: Edmore Sibanda, Hardlife Zvirekwi, Ronald Pfumbidzayi, Stephen Makatuka, Dennis Dauda, Devon Chafa, Moses Muchenje, Phinius Bhamusi, Joel Ngodzo, Simba Nhivi, Leonard Tsipa

Chicken Inn: Elvis Chipezeze, Passmore Benard, Divine Lungu, George Majika, Chris Samakweri, Moses Demera, Thabani Goredema, Moss Jackson, Clemence Matawu, Lawrence Mhlanga, Tafadzwa Kutinyu

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