CAPS shift focus

HARARE - Another victory over old foes Dynamos at the weekend has given CAPS United fresh impetus ahead of their David v Goliath clash with DRC’s TP Mazembe in the African Champions League final qualifying round next month.

Makepekepe defeated Dynamos 3-1 in the semi-final of the ZNA Charities Commander Shield at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.

The Green Machine dispatched their neighbours, courtesy of an own goal from Wisdom Mutasa, Leonard Tsipa’s strike before a late goal from Dominic Chungwa handed them a comfortable victory while Denver Mukamba scored a consolation for DeMbare.

Makepekepe captain Moses Muchenje believes the victory will put them in good stead as they prepare to face the five-time African champions.

“It wasn’t easy, we fought really hard for it and I am happy we triumphed; it seems we have picked up from were we left last season. These derby matches are a must-win and coming out tops always brings a good feeling,” Muchenje said.

“But on looking at the bigger picture, I think this match will help us in our next match against TP Mazembe.

“They (Dynamos) are a good team and we respect them a lot. They did put a good performance but it’s just that we wanted to win more.

“I think this win has lifted our morale in a big way and we are now looking forward to the TP Mazembe match.”

CAPS were not really convincing when they overcame Lesotho champions Lioli FC in the preliminary round of the competition.

Makepekepe and Lioli played out a goalless draw in the first leg in Maseru in a match both sides struggled to assert themselves earlier this month.

The second leg at the National Sports Stadium proved to be a difficult encounter for the Zimbabwe champions as Tse Nale took a first half 1-0 lead.

United were able to turn around the match in the second half through goals from Simba Nhivi and new boy Ronald Chitiyo.

However, before completing the comeback, Makepekepe had endured anxious moments as goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda made some stunning saves to deny Lioli.

The Green Machine will travel to Lubumbashi for the first leg on the weekend of March 10-12 with the second leg scheduled for the National Sports Stadium the following weekend.

If Makepekepe put in a similar performance like the one against Lioli, then they might be put to the sword by a star-studded Mazembe side.

Muchenje believes their victory over Dynamos is also the beginning of a new era that will see Makepekepe dominate their rivals in the years to come.

“I think it’s now our time to enjoy dominance over them,” the former Gunners midfielder said.

Makepekepe, before last season, lived in the shadows of Dynamos as they had not won a game against their rivals since April 2009.

Since then, DeMbare had gone onto to win consecutive league titles between 2011 and 2014 while United could only watch from afar.

Makepekepe finally ended that jinx when they won 1-0 in the first round of the 2016 season courtesy of Chungwa’s goal.

The reverse fixture last November will go down in history as one of the most memorable matches in domestic football.

Dynamos somehow surrendered a 3-0 lead in the last five minutes of the match, allowing CAPS to fight back and earn a point in a 3-3 draw — a result which was pivotal to United’s march to their fifth league title.

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