Chitiyo dazzles as CAPS beat USMA

HARARE - Ronald “Rooney” Chitiyo scored a memorable brace as CAPS United picked up their first win in the African Champions League Group B with a 2-1 victory over USM Alger (USMA) yesterday.

While Chitiyo provided the killer blows inside the box on both goals, Tafadzwa Rusike was the star of the CAPS United show.

Makepekepe were desperate for three points having lost to Zamalek in their first game two weeks ago.

Yesterday’s win for Makepekepe left Group B evenly poised following the goalless draw between Al-Ahli Tripoli and Zamalek on Tuesday.

Zamalek now sit top of the table with four points, CAPS United are now in second place on three points, USMA are in third place also on three points. Al-Ahli Tripoli sit on the bottom of the log with only a single point.

CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe was pleased with how his side performed yesterday to get back into contention to reach the knockout stages of the competition.

“You can never fault these boys for lack of desire and determination. There is no easy win at this level of the competition..,” Chitembwe said.

“Today (yesterday) this is a perfect result of that determination and desire to win.”

Makepekepe were on the front foot from the first whistle as they took the game to the Algerians.

Forward Abbas Amidu should have scored the opening goal in the fifth minute when he beat the USMA offside trap.

Amidu, however, tried to lob the visitors’ goalkeeper Mohamed Zemmamouche but his effort was weak. The ball went straight into the arms of the USMA goalkeeper.

Chitiyo, would however, break the ice for the home side in the 16th minute after some good work down the left wing from Ronald Pfumbidzai.

The defender’s cross was blocked with the ricochet falling to Rusike, who fired at goal from inside the box.

Rusike’s shot was also blocked by a USMA defender with the rebound going into Chitiyo’s direction.

The Makepekepe midfielder showed great composure by controlling the ball first before picking his spot with a low shot to the far post.

Amidu had more chances to increase the scoring but seemed to react slowly on most occasions allowing the USMA defence to recover.

Makepekepe were almost made to pay for Amidu’s dithering when Oussama Darfalou struck the upright from a USMA counter attack on the stroke of halftime.

After the break, the Algerians came back more determined to find an equaliser as they pushed forward in numbers.

Darfalou wasted a good chance to equalise when he headed wide in the 55th minute before he was replaced by Mohamed Benkablia.

The warning signs were there for Makepekepe as USMA continued to probe for the equaliser.

USMA did not have to wait long to be level though as the early pressure in the second period paid off in the 67th minute.

Just like in the match against Zamalek, CAPS’ Achilles heel was their defending at set-pieces.

The Makepekepe defence allowed Ayoub Abdellaoui a free header at the back post from a free lick taken by Mohamed Meftah.

USMA were clearly the better side leading up to the equaliser but the visitors failed to maintain the tempo as they began to sit back.

This allowed Rusike to have more influence on the game and the midfielder worked his magic nine minutes before time to set up Chitiyo.

Rusike won possession just inside the USMA half before charging goal wards and exchanged passes with Chitiyo.

The Makepekepe midfielder completed his brace when he fired in a low shot that beat Zemmamouche at his near post.

USMA coach Paul Put was disappointed with his side’s missed chances after the match.

“I’m not looking for any excuses here but we were really not in the game. CAPS United were really effective in front of goal and that proved to be the difference between the two teams,” the Belgian said.

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