Highlanders . . . . . . . 0
Caps United . . . . . . . .(1) 1
BY THANDIWE MOYO
CAPS United put their in-house problems behind them to deliver a stunning blow to Highlanders and their under-pressure coach Bongani Mafu after yesterday’s Premier Soccer League match played at Barbourfields Stadium.
The Green Machine were not sure if they would make the trip to the City of Kings on Friday night due to financial problems, but that was not evident at all as Stephen Makatuka delivered the solitary blow in the 26th minute of a closely-fought contest.
Caps United coach Mark Harrison praised his players for the win.
“We deserved to win the game, make no mistake about that. We should have been three or four-nil at half-time,” Harrison said.
“This is the best crew of players I have worked with in the world. Everything we have been going through in this football club shows the world that the players are phenomenal.
“They have gone through a lot and what they are delivering at the moment is phenomenal.”
After suffering his second defeat at home after losing to Chapungu by the same scoreline, Mafu said: “Goals were not coming for us. We need to get goals; they are not coming at all. We still created opportunities, but without scoring, it’s not going to happen. We need goals.
“I think it’s confidence. We need to have a little bit of composure in front of goal and not to worry too much if we miss. I think the goal took the wind out of our sail and we went out of the way a little bit in the first half, but I must say we played better football in the second half. We conceded a goal which we could have cut off so we need to work on those things.”
Highlanders back-pedalled throughout the match with players failing to combine well and losing a lot of possession in midfield.
In the 26th minute, Highlanders conceded a corner which was well taken by Gerald Phiri with Ariel Sibanda being drawn out to try and clear, leaving the goalmouth unmanned.
Makatuka met the cross with a powerful header which Felix Chindungwe tried to clear, but only assisted in putting it into the nets.
Two minutes later, Highlanders’ Ozias Zibande sent a Bruce Kangwa cross over the bar, while in the 39th minute, Takudzwa Mahori’s effort was saved by Sibanda.
A minute into the second half, Sibanda saved Highlanders from another goal after Kangwa and Teenage Hadebe had failed to clear, leaving the ball in the path of Rodreck Mutuma, but Sibanda threw his body on the line to save at point-blank range.
Highlanders tried to salvage a point in the dying minutes of the game, but even Simon Munawa’s acrobatic kick went wide.
The Bulawayo giants tumbled to seventh position on the log from fourth with 10 points, while Caps United rose to fifth position with 11 points.
Highlanders: A Sibanda, W Chingodza, S Munawa, O Tarumbwa, B Kangwa, N Masuku, T Hadebe, F Chindungwe, O Zibande (K Nadolo 79th minute), V Ndaba (R Kutsanzira 31st minute), G Nyoni (T Chideu 62nd minute)
Caps United: C Mverechena, H Zvirekwi, G Nyirenda, S Makatuka, R Matova, D Mukandi, M Muchenje, L Fiyado (V Musarurwa 71st minute), R Mutuma, T Mahori (C Machisi 82nd minute), G Phiri (L Tsipa 62nd minute)