CAPS leave it late

HARARE - CAPS United were six minutes away from a second consecutive draw when defender Ronald Pfumbidzai scored a crucial winning goal against Harare City in a Castle Lager Premiership match yesterday.

Pfumbidzai popped up at the back post to direct an out-swinging free kick sent in by Cabby Kamhapa past City goalkeeper Maxwell Nyamupanedengu.

At that point, getting a goal looked unlikely for the defending champions since they had been reduced to 10 men after substitute Joel Ngodzo had been sent off by referee Norman Matemera for a high boot on James Jam in the 73rd minute.

CAPS had taken the lead in the 51st minute through a wonderful strike from another substitute Tafadzwa Rusike.

Abbas Amidu drove menacingly at the Sunshine Boys defence before sending a low cross to Phineas Bamusi on the edge of the box.

Bamusi showed composure before teeing up Rusike, who sent a curling shot that struck the underside of the crossbar before hitting the back of the net.

However, Ngodzo’s sending off changed the complexion of the game as City began to throw men forward in search of an equaliser.

The Sunshine Boys were rewarded when substitute Protasho Kabwe stole possession from Kamhapa in midfield before releasing Jerry Chipangura in the 82nd minute.

The City striker, who had just came on for Jam, took a few touches before unleashing a low shot that took a nasty deflection off defender Dennis Dauda to wrong-foot Makepekepe goalkeeper Jorum Muchambo.

The Green Machine looked rattled by the equaliser and knowing they were a man down, it was now a tall order to hold on for the remainder of the match.

Lloyd Chitembwe’s side, however, showed their character when they quickly regrouped and regained the lead from a set-piece that looked unlikely two minutes later.  

Maybe the euphoria of grabbing the equaliser was still in their heads because the Sunshine Boys totally lost concentration in defending the Makepekepe free kick.

CAPS went on to hold on for all three points and secure their first win of the season after they played out a goalless draw away to Shabanie Mine in the opening weekend of the new season.

Even after the match, Harare City coach Mike “Dread” Madzivanyika was disappointed with how his side failed to defend at such a crucial moment in the match.

“I think we lacked concentration at the back because this was a free kick which we should have organised well to defend,” Madzivanyika said.

“But we took too long to organise and this allowed the opposition to score. This is very disappointing and I cannot be happy because we created the better chances after they got the red card.”   

On the other hand, Chitembwe was pleased with how his side had regrouped to win the match after conceding an equaliser late in the match.  

“This is a mark of greatness within this team because we were one-man down and we managed to score the second goal to get the result we desired,” Chitembwe said.

On Ngodzo’s red card Chitembwe said: “It will be very unprofessional for me to comment on the decisions that a certain man does make just like I also make.”

The Makepekepe coach was, however, not pleased with how his team had defended for the Sunshine Boys’ equaliser.

“Each time you concede a goal, there is something very wrong that would have happened but at the end of the day I’m happy because we only conceded one goal,” he said.

“I’m sure in the last five games we have played, they have conceded only one goal which is remarkable.”

Teams:

CAPS United: Jorum Muchambo, Hardlife Zvirekwi, Ronald Pfumbidzai, Dennis Dauda, Justice Jangano, Cabby Kamhapa, Ronald Chitiyo (Joel Ngodzo 46m), Moses Muchenje (Tafadzwa Rusike 46m), Phineas Bamusi, Dominic Chungwa, Abbas Amidu (James Ngulube 63m)

Harare City: Maxwell Nyamupanedengu, Takudzwa Chimwemwe, Pritchard Mpelele, Raymond Uchena, Jimmy Tigere, James Jam (Jerry Chipangura 78m), Farai Madhanaga, Wilfred Muvirimi (Protasho Kabwe 56m), Martin Vengesayi (Tatenda Tumba 60m), Malvern Gaki, Tinashe Balakasi   

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