Defending champions Lengthens shocked Gunners 1-0 at Rufaro Stadium yesterday in a quarter-final replay of the BancABC Sup8r to book a place in the semi-finals of the cup competition.
Captain Godfrey Moyo’s brilliant free kick in the 74th made sure that Lengthens continued their good run in the knock-out competition after winning it last season.
He was named man-of the-match after a brilliant afternoon and took home $200.
The Happy People will now meet the winner of another replay between Caps United and Shooting Stars in the semi-finals.
There was, however, a sour end to the match when Lengthens defender Brian Gubudu suffered a fractured hand after committing himself to block Norman Maroto in the 90th minute.
Lengthens team manager Richard Matoka could be seen battling to raise funds after the match so that Gubudu could be admitted to hospital after the paramedics said the hospital demanded cash upfront.
Gunners played the last 38 minutes of the match a man short after defender Richard Khola saw red for a second bookable offence seven minutes into the second half. This was after an-off -the- ball incident involving Lengthens striker Tawanda Munyendi.
Gunners were lucky to finish the game with 10 men as it could have been a lot worse as referee Thomas Masa was a bit lenient on Gunners’ captain Trymore Mtisi who retaliated against Munyendi when he was already on a yellow card.
Instead, the referee decided to give the yellow card to Lengthens’ Steve Matangaise.
Lengthens showed a lot of character for a team that has recently been struggling in the league campaign while Gunners were guilty of complacency as their players seemed to under-rate Lengthens in the initial stages of the game.
The Happy People should have taken the lead in the 31st minute when Jossam Matselele slid home what looked like a fair goal but referee Masa ruled it offside.
Three minutes later, Maroto saw his bullet header come agonisingly off the crossbar.
Ten minutes later Gunners threatened to take the lead after Tongai Mangwendere’s header towards goal was heroically cleared by eventual match winner Moyo.
It almost looked like Lengthens would rue the chances they had missed in the first half but in the second stanza they came back more determined.
However, the goal that sealed the game could have won any match as it was not short of quality.
Lengthens won a free kick just outside the box after Qadir Amini brought down Munyendi just outside the box.
Up stepped Moyo to curl the ball in the top right corner to send the Lengthens bench into delirium as a win was almost certain.
An impressed Mathuthu, who is now on course for a second BancABC Supr8r win after prevailing over Caps United in the inaugural edition in 2008, said the win had shown that he has a team of Premiership material.
“It was challenge to try and rebuild the team after losing eight senior players during the transfer window period.
“We are coping well but we are not taking anything for granted because we are going to meet an equally strong side in Shooting Stars or Caps United,” said Mathuthu.
Lengthens: M Gonese, L Banda, A Chiveya, P Gubudu (T Magaisa 90th min), J Matselele (I Maganiwa 70th min), P Makanje, P Nhamo (S Matangaise 70th min), M Chipunza, C Nyapfuri, T Munyendi, G Moyo
Gunners: T Dube, T Mtisi, A Qadir, R Khola, N Ndlovu, N Maroto, E Meleka, T Mangezi (M Mususa 55th min), W Katsande, T Mangwendere (N Ziwini 87th min), A Sadiki