Caps United . . . . . . . . . . . 0
Highlanders . . . . . . . . (1) 1
Highlanders captain Gilbert Banda returned to haunt Moses Chunga again as Caps United were dumped out of the BancABC Sup8r football tournament by a 10-man Bosso in a dramatic quarter-final match played at Baghdad Stadium in Kwekwe on Sunday.
It was a step forward for Banda to lift the second silverware after the Bulawayo giants bagged the Independence Trophy in April.
In the last league encounter between the two teams at Barbourfields, Banda scored the winner in the 1-0 win.
Last Sunday, Chunga was on the losing side again when Caps United fell 1-0 to bitter rivals Dynamos in a Harare derby in the Premier Soccer League at the National Sports Stadium and Sunday’s ouster from the cash-rich competition does him no further favours from some of the club’s militant fans.
On Sunday it was Banda’s freak shot that sailed through the legs of giant goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda in the 48th minute which saw Highlanders become the second team to reach the last four after Shabanie Mine edged Gunners 1-0 at Ascot Stadium in Gweru on Saturday.
Highlanders defender Lawson Nkomo was red-carded in the 38th minute when referee Jacob Kuuya adjudged that the right-back had deliberately pulled down a charging Douglas Walaza, who had also instigated the caution some minutes earlier.
Highlanders coach Mkhuphali Masuku saluted the boys for their resilience in fighting for a win even when a man down.
“I give credit to my players; they fought very hard to cover up for our one-man deficit and we were strong especially in defence and midfield. I am now looking forward to the next opponent and my target remains getting into the final and winning it.
“We were a bit scared when Nkomo was red-carded, but that is part of the game. What matters now is that we have won the match,” he said in his post-match interview.
Man-of-the-match Erick Mudzingwa, who pocketed $200, said: “I am very happy to win the award and this has now motivated me to help my team win the cup.”
An angry Chunga refused to comment, but his assistant Brenna Msiska said they were now diverting all their attention to the league race.
“Our guys are not mature enough and that is what was exposed in the match. We would like to put all this behind us and turn to the league race and I believe we will win the championship,” Msiska said.
The incident-filled match took off with some anxious moments after striker Vincent Nzombe had to be ferried to hospital by ambulance after colliding with Sibanda after just 12 minutes.
Paramedics immediately administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation which caused a seven-minute stoppage before Njabulo Ncube replaced him.
A minor injury to Arnold Tshuma after the restart had the paramedics back on the field again.
The Green Machine enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the first half, launching numerous raids from the right wing where Gilbert Mapemba gave Washington Pakamisa support, but to no avail.
Highlanders’ defining moment arrived when a seemingly harmless free kick went through the legs of Sibanda, much to the embarrassment of the giant goalkeeper.
A panicking Chunga quickly brought in Charles Chiutsa for an ineffective Arnold Chivheya just before the interval.
In the second half, Bosso launched a 15-minute attacking spree, but were let down by the struggling Ncube.
A defensive mix-up between Banda and Innocent Mapuranga in the 79th minute nearly presented Chiutsa with a chance to level the score, but goalkeeper Lovemore Makwavarara stepped in timely to save the situation.
Caps United: E Sibanda, E Chafungamoyo, A Chivheya (C Chiutsa six mins first half stoppage), C Kawinga (J Luphahla 70th min), G Mapemba, N Mukumbi, W Pakamisa, M Samaneka (G Mangani 58th min), L Simango, D Walaza, P Tafirenyika
Highlanders: L Makwavarara, L Nkomo (red card 38th min), G Banda, R Kutsanzira, G Lunga, I Mapuranga, E Mudzingwa, S Munawa, X Ncube, V Nzombe (N Ncube 19th min), A Tshuma (B Ndlovu 45th min)