CHRISTIAN Epoupa delivered on the big stage, netting a brace to decide the big Harare Derby, as Dynamos made light work of their biggest enemies Caps United at the National Sports Stadium yesterday.
BY HENRY MHARA
The big Cameroonian justified his growing reputation with two well-taken goals, prodding home at the stroke of half time from a rebound before sealing the points for DeMbare 15 minutes from time, with a headed goal from a contentious free kick.
His heroics yesterday took his goal tally to 10, and is now the joint top goal scorer with Bukhosi Sibanda, who has since departed for South Africa.
The victory saw Dynamos moving second on the log standings, behind Chicken Inn.
Dynamos coach, Lloyd Mutasa was satisfied by Ntouba’s contribution, but dismissed suggestions that his team are favourites to win the title.
“It was two from a great player, he is inspirational. You look at his conversion rate, in the matches that we have played you see that he is an exceptional player and is proving the reason why he is donning the Dynamos jersey,” he said.
“We are taking one game at a time. We are facing another tough assignment next, against a good Highlanders side and after that match, we would be in a position to know whether we can really push for the championship. Looking at the race, we have Chicken Inn, which has seasoned players and have a great coach in Rahman Gumbo. Then there is FC Platinum, they are in the mix, and there have been there before. Ngezi Platinum are up there as well so it’s still game on.”
Caps United coach, Lloyd Chitembwe once again refused to address the media, sending his assistant Fungai Kwashi to the press conference.
“In the first half, Dynamos were the better team and in the second half we were chasing the game,” Kwashi observed after the match. “But the second goal they got, I thought it was not supposed to be a free-kick in the first place, Moses Muchenje won the ball fair. Sometimes, the referee gives a good call sometimes he makes a bad call. You can’t give excuses over that, you can’t complain because he is a human being, so I’m not going to mourn over this.”
Dynamos started the match on the front foot, and created two chances early on, which they should have buried.
Epoupa somehow skied his effort over the bar after getting to the end of a cutback from Ocean Mushure.
Gift Saunyama then came close moments later, his shot squirming off the cross after a melee inside the Caps United area.
But Caps United soon settled and took hold of the game, with Devon Chafa outstanding and orchestrating moves in the midfield.
The home side exchanged passes in midfield before releasing Tafadzwa Rusike, who fired into the side netting.
The Green Machine looked like the likeliest team to score as minutes ticked towards the half-time break.
But it was Dynamos, who took the lead, and against the run of play.
Cleopas Kapupurika made all the hard work on the left, beating Zvirekwi before crossing for Denver Mukamba, whose effort was blocked by a defender.
The rebound fell to Epoupa, who hit the back of the net.
Chitembwe introduced Abrahism Chidiebere at the restart, and the Nigerian’s first contribution was to win a free kick just outside the box, which the team’s set-piece specialist, goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda blasted wide.
United almost equalised in the 62nd minute, Zvirekwi’s freekick flicked on to the cross bar by goalkeeper, Tonderai Mateyaunga.
Epoupa increased Dynamos advantage, heading home from a Mushure free kick following a free kick.
Caps United would feel hard done, as substitute Muchenje appeared to win the ball cleanly from Mushure, but referee, Philani Ncube gave a free kick.
Caps United: E Sibanda, H Zvirekwi, S Makatuka, C Munzabwa, V Musarurwa, D Chafa, K Nyamupfukudza (J Ngodzo, 82′), P Bhamusi, T Rusike (M Muchenje, 61′), A Kambanje (A Chidiebere, 46′), J Zhuwawu
Dynamos: T Mateyaunga, P Dube, G Mukambi, L Zvasiya, P Makaha, G Saunyama, T Chipunza, C Kapupurika, O Mushure (E Mandiranga, 85′), D Mukamba (T Macheke, 67′), C Ntouba (Q Kangadze, 80′)