Caps United . . . . .(1) 2
Monomotapa . . . .(0)1
CAPS United kept their title dream alive after overcoming a battling Monomotapa in Castle Lager Premiership football tie at the National Sports Stadium yesterday.
Forceful striker Dominic Chungwa opened the account for Caps United 19 minutes into the match before Moses Chenje converted a penalty in the second half to seal victory for the Harare giants.
The victory — their first over Monomotapa since 2006 — lifted them to fourth position on the league table with 31 points.
The Green Machine goalkeepers’ coach Brenna Msiska was delighted with the victory despite his team squandering plenty of opportunities.
“We are happy with the three points. This team had given us problems, but today we have beaten them,” Msiska said. “We played well, but missed a good number of chances. At the moment we are just looking at ourselves . We are not worried about how other teams are playing.”
Caps dominated in the first half in which they bombarded the Monomotapa goal with an assortment of shots, but luck deserted them somehow.
Their dominance counted for little as they were restricted to a narrow victory and Monoz could have even escaped with a point as they took the game to their opponents in the second half.
Taurai Mangwiro’s men, however, showed a lot of verve especially in the first half with roving leftback Ronald Pfumbidzai delivering a wonderful cross into the penalty area in the second minute, but it found no takers.
In the 10th minute, Ismael Lawe wasted a good opportunity when he directed his effort over the bar after winning the ball in the penalty area.
As Monoz were beginning to threaten United, they (Caps) cracked on 19 minutes with Chungwa forcing his way between defenders Sithole and Morgan Mungombe before placing the ball besides an advancing goalkeeper Tapiwa Zvaita.
That goal appeared to have deflated Monoz’s hopes as Caps United attacked relentlessly, but their finishing was poor with Nyamandwe guilty of a glaring miss in the 36th minute after he was set up by Benson Maglas in the danger zone.
With a yawning goal, the towering striker chose to put power behind the ball to miss with a wild effort.
But, he was not the only one, as Rahman Kutsanzira also wasted a good chance on 42 minutes.
Biggie Zuze’s men refused to be cowed as they also threatened with Lawe coming close at the stroke of half-time.
However, Monoz fell further behind soon after the start of the second half, with Sithole needlessly bringing down Nyamandwe in the penalty area.
Moses Muchenje showed conviction as he stepped up to take responsibility. The stakes were too high and there was no room for mistakes and the former Gunners midfielder coolly converted for Caps’ second goal.
Zuze then introduced Hamilton Masumbuko for Praise Tonha eight minutes into the second half with Mangwiro also responding by pulling out Maglas and throwing in Gerald Phiri.
It nearly paid dividends for Mangwiro as Nyamandwe and Kutsanzira came close. It was, however, in the 67th minute in which Phiri could have registered his name on the scoresheet after coming face-to-face with the keeper only for his effort to crash against the upright.
Three minutes later, Nyamandwe breached the Monoz defence, but the ball was cleared as he prepared to let loose.
Monoz refused to throw in the towel and Nelson Meson had the ball in the back of the nets after winning possession on the left before cutting inside and then placed the ball besides Caps United goalkeeper Jorum Muchambo.
In the 76th minute, skipper Hillary Mugoniwa could have levelled matters, but his effort missed target by a few inches.
Zuze accepted defeat after the match.
“Credit to Caps United they played well especially in the first half, but we came stronger in the second half and could have got a point. They showed great character. I don’t remember losing to Caps United since I joined Monomotapa some three years ago,” said Zuze.