CAPS United . . . . (2) 2
Gunners . . . . . . . . (1) 1
CAPS United kept their bid for a top eight finish alive after edging relegation-threatened Gunners in a Castle Lager Premiership football match played at Gwanzura Stadium yesterday.
REPORT BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
Former Gunners midfielder Hardlife Zvirekwi and Nqobile Mpala scored a goal each in the first half before Moses Muchenje pulled one back after converting from the spot for Gunners at the stroke of the first half.
The victory saw the Green Machine leaping to ninth position on the league table with 34 points from 26 matches. And with only four matches left before the end of the campaign, a top eight finish now looks possible.
But the result compromised Gunners’ chances of surviving the axe. Moses Chunga, roped into the technical to help save the team from relegation, however, remained confident despite the defeat.
“With four games left and 12 points on offer, I think it’s still possible. We were let down by some sloppy defending. We gifted them with both goals. Our defending was sloppy and we got punished,” said Chunga.
Caps United assistant coach Mkhuphali Masuku said although they were not at their best, they were happy to collect all points.
“There were ups and downs in our play, possibly because both of us are in the mud and we were too cautious. But in the end, we are happy to win the match,” said Masuku. Gunners remain on third position with 22 points from 26 matches.
United were in control of the match from the start, with David Rediyoni warming the hands of goalkeeper Clayton Dombo with a low shot in the first minute.
Zvirekwi also spurned a chance nine minutes later with a wild effort.
But the former Gunners midfielder made no mistake on 31 minutes, as he beat Dombo with a powerful shot after he was set up by his former teammate at Gunners Leonard Fiyado. As Caps continued with their dominance, Mpala rose unchallenged on 40 minutes to plant a firm header past Dombo off a free kick by Tapiwa Khumbuyani on the right.
However, Chunga’s men had their moments too with Ismael Lawe and Dephistara Tapiwa threatening with some fine raids.
And it was in one of those raids that saw Tendai Samanja handling the ball in the penalty area under pressure from Gunners attackers.
And Muchenje stepped up to slot the ball home from the penalty spot to give Chunga’s men hope. In the second half, few
chances were created, but Caps United could have increased their lead on 79 minutes.
Mpala, who appeared to be strong in the air, somehow wasted a header following a good cross from Khumbuyani.
Gunners could have equalised two minutes from full time, but Tapiwa Mangezi, who also came in as a substitute, blasted over a cross from Abel Gwatidzo leaving goalkeeper Itai Chiwara a relieved man.