A clear blue winter’s day prefaced the 69th edition of the Harare derby which produced one splendid goal, a deluge of tears and exhilaration before a heaving Rufaro Stadium on Saturday.
As bitter city rivals Dynamos and Caps United battled for supremacy in this fiery Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match, it all appeared like Caps United would run over their opponents.
The Green Machine, who have been overshadowed by their adversaries in recent derby matches, took control for much of the game, probing their opponents with the determination of bees and the spirit of ants.
Veteran forward Shingi Kawondera showed flashes of brilliance that belied his rather advanced age.
Midfielder Marvel Samaneka also ensured Dynamos saw very little of the ball in the crucial midfield department with his ball artistry.
But Dynamos playmaker Denver Mukamba proved a handful for Caps United while Cliff Sekete also showed why the champions spent a fortune when signing him from Gunners with some fine raids.
However, for all their raids, the goal remained stubbornly elusive until late in the second half when Tawanda Muparati decided the contest with a wonder strike.
His namesake Tawanda Munyanduri’s miscued clearance was flicked into the path of Muparati by Caps United defender Douglas Walaza and a grateful Muparati volleyed home first time, leaving big goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda sprawling.
The goal left neutrals nodding in agreement.
At the final whistle, a tearful Caps United skipper Tapiwa Khumbuyani and his troops walked briskly across the field before disappearing into the dressing room. The images of some fans also sobbing uncontrollably told the story of a troubled soul.
For a team that had dominated the match so much, it felt very uncomfortable to witness their pain. But manager Sean Connor put up a brave face in a post-match interview.
“A minor mistake cost us, but I don’t want to point fingers at any one. The effort, commitment and attitude was there, but we were just unfortunate not to get a positive result he said.”