THE Harare derby, like a candle in the wind, has come and gone leaving a trail of joy, tears and, most importantly, marking a shift on what initially looked like a two-horse race between FC Platinum and Highlanders in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League.
Report by Henry Mhara
While the match played at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday dismally failed to equal the pre-match hype with fans left yawning for most parts of the game, the Dynamos players would not care less.
Dynamos midfielder Devon Chafa, one of the few outstanding players on the pitch, scored the priceless goal from the penalty spot after Caps United defender Arnold Chivheya had hacked down Clive Kawinga inside the box.
The match was a dull affair with both coaches Kalisto Pasuwa and Taurai Mangwiro opting for a conservative approach by packing their midfield and defence.
It appeared all coaches wanted to avoid defeat at any cost.
Dynamos had two defensive midfielders in Chafa and Thomas Magorimbo, while Mangwiro had Hardlife Zvirekwi and Rahman Kutsanzira.
While the two Caps players started brightly, match fitness was always going to catch up and by the 15th-minute mark, they were looking weary, allowing Dynamos players — especially Tawanda Muparati — room to dominate play in midfield.
“It was a good result for us, but we should not be carried away,” Dynamos team manager Richard Chihoro said yesterday.
“We have been getting good results of late and we need not lose concentration. The Harare derby is over, we should focus on the next assignment.”
With the win, Dynamos moved to fifth position on the log standings with 18 points, three behind log leaders FC Platinum who dropped another two points when drawing with Monomotapa on Saturday, and two behind second-placed Highlanders who lost in the Bulawayo derby against this season’s surprise package How Mine.
This was the second match in succession when the two leading teams dropped points after they cancelled each other out at Mandava Stadium last week, and consequently allowing trailing teams to close in on the gap.
Harare City, who have been conducting their business quietly, are on third position with the same number of points as Bosso, while How Mine, who have surprised everyone including themselves, are behind by virtue of a goal difference.
More twists to the title race are expected between tomorrow and Thursday when all the teams return to mid-week action.
FC Platinum host a rejuvenated Hwange at Mandava Stadium tomorrow in a match the Zvishavane side just cannot afford to drop more points.
Dynamos welcome Harare City at Rufaro Stadium in what is arguably the biggest match in the capital, whose outcome has far-reaching effects in the way the log would look like at the end of the day tomorrow.
If City win this match, and results elsewhere go in their favour, they could find themselves on top of the log tomorrow evening. The same goes for Dynamos, if they have a harvest of goals.
How Mine are at Black Mambas in what should be one of those easy games.
The visitors should find fewer difficulties in collecting maximum points against a side who had until their scrappy win at Buffaloes last Sunday, lost their previous five matches.
Highlanders could find themselves on fifth position by the time they kick the ball against Monomotapa at Rufaro on Thursday.
The Bulawayo giants have dropped four points in the last two matches, and just like FC Platinum, they are hard-pressed to win this one.
Today: Shabanie Mine v Black Rhinos (Maglas)
Tomorrow: Triangle v Motor Action (Gibbo), Dynamos v Harare City (Rufaro), **FC Platinum v Hwange (Mandava), Black Mambas v How Mine (Morris Depot), Chicken Inn v Buffaloes (Luveve).
Thursday: Monomotapa v Highlanders (Rufaro), **Tripple B v CAPS United (Mandava)
**Matches to be broadcast live on SuperSport channel 9