(Match abandoned after 69 minutes)
The Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) match between Caps United and Gunners had to be abandoned after 69 minutes following crowd trouble at Rufaro Stadium yesterday.
Gunners were leading 2-0 when referee Ruzive Ruzive stopped play after supporters at the notorious city-end bay that houses staunch Caps United fans threw missiles onto the field.
The match had initially been suspended for 10 minutes on the 54th minute when Caps United defender Edmore Chafungamoyo was shown a second yellow card for a professional foul on Lloyd Masakusi, a decision that incensed the Caps United supporters who started throwing objects on the ground.
Caps United rightback David Sengu, who was making his debut for the club after crossing the floor from Gunners was given a straight red card in the 42nd minute for elbowing Munyaradzi Kunyarimwe.
Gunners, now under former Caps United coach Moses “Bambo” Chunga, had taken the two-goal lead through a brace by attacking midfielder Leonard Fiyado in the 31st and 68th minutes.
Armed police had to be called into action to disperse the rowdy crowd who had gathered outside the stadium baying for Ruzive’s blood. They accused him of biased officiating.
Caps United coach Maxwell Takaendesa Jongwe said: “I don’t want to debate the referee’s performance today (yesterday). How can I come up with an analysis of the match when I had to play with nine men instead of 11?”
On crowd trouble, Jongwe said: “Normally I don’t comment about the supporters’ behaviour but people should understand that Caps United is a big institution with passionate supporters. They want to see their club winning and when they feel that their team is unfairly treated, this is what happens. The emotions were obviously high. However, in my opinion, I don’t think the match should have been stopped, the situation was under control, those were just emotional reactions by supporters,” said Jongwe.
Chunga, whose unceremonious departure from Caps United was masterminded by the club supporters praised the referee for a good game.
“He (Ruzive) was spot on, fantastic and he did very well. Credit should be given to Ruzive — he was not overawed by the situation, all his decisions were correct,” said Chunga who was saluted by the dominantly Dynamos supporters after the match.
“I wasn’t surprised by my team’s win today (yesterday); we just started from where we left on Wednesday. The only difference is that today (yesterday) we managed to score two goals; something we couldn’t do last time,” added Chunga.
The two teams were meeting for the second time in four days after their initial meeting had ended in a goalless draw, and it was the home side Caps United, that started on the offensive with new man Tendai Samanja controlling proceedings in the midfield.
Caps United’s Evans Gwekwerere got the better of defender Pardon Chinungwa on the edge of the box but instead of squaring the ball to onrushing teammates, the dreadlocked striker shot from an acute angle and Gunners goalkeeper Prosper Chigumba blocked the effort for a corner-kick after six minutes.
However, Gunners playing a basic one two touch started to settle down and could have taken the lead when roving right-back Hardlife Zvirekwi’s intended cross almost beat Edmore Sibanda who tipped the ball for a corner.
Gunners who were now controlling the match got the opener when Masakusi exchanged passes with Patrick Makuvaza who put Fiyado through to blast past Sibanda.
Caps’ fortunes went from bad to worse when Sengu elbowed Kunyarimwe in an off-the-ball incident and Ruzive, after consulting with his assistant referee produced a straight red card.
Nine minutes into the second half, Chafungamoyo who was already sitting on a yellow, pulled down Masakusi as the pint-sized midfielder was clear on goal and Ruzive produced another yellow and the tall defender was off.
The red card triggered chaotic scenes as the Caps United supporters started to throw missiles onto the pitch towards the Gunners goal area and Ruzive had no option but to suspend the match.
Caps United chairman Twine Phiri, who is PSL chairman had to move off his seat at the VVIP enclosure to calm down his team’s supporters on the city-end section who duly obliged after 10 minutes.
Three minutes after play had resumed, Fiyado fired came from close range off a Muchenje cross from the right and all hell broke loose as Caps United supporters rained objects onto the pitch forcing Ruzive to call off the match for the safety of the players and other fans.