CHAMPIONS Caps United’s ambition to finish in the top four suffered a major setback after they were held by Hwange at the National Sports Stadium, a result that also left their opponent in deeper relegation trouble.
BY HENRY MHARA
Caps United . . . . . (0) 1
Hwange . . . . . . . . (0) 1
The Green Machine, who went into the match high on confidence after a dazzling midweek performance against Highlanders, had hoped to capitalise on fourth placed Chicken Inn’s draw against ZPC Kariba earlier in the day to close the gap.
But they found themselves a goal down on 76 minutes when Delic Murimba exquisitely dinked the ball over goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda, following a calamitous defending error by substitute Charlton Munzabwa.
The lead lasted only three minutes though, as John Zhuwawu equalised for Caps with a curling effort from inside the penalty box.
Yesterday’s draw leaves Caps United on 50 points, six behind Chicken Inn with four matches remaining.
For Hwange, they remained inside the bottom three with 31 points, and in real danger of getting relegated at the end of the season.
Caps United assistant coach Fungai Kwashi was not happy with his side’s overall performance, claiming his players appeared to be suffering a hangover from their dazzling midweek win against Highlanders.
“Before the game, the coach reminded the guys that we had a brilliant game against Highlanders, but we need to be cautious with this Hwange team. When you play a very good game, players tend to get a bit relaxed so the gaffer had already warned the players beforehand and not to go into the game thinking about the Highlanders match. They created chances, they had more shots on target against a Hwange side who were compact, sort of parking the bus and hitting us on counter attacks. We were not ruthless enough,” Kwashi said.
Hwange coach Bigboy Mawiwi was disappointed his side failed to protect the goal to draw the match and leaving their chances of survival lean.
“Naturally I’m disappointed because after leading, we should have defended better. We gave away a soft goal, we should have defended well. We came for three points here, but sadly we only got one. This result is not good for me and the team. Had we won this, it was going to give us a big lift, after most of the teams (in the relegation zone) lost their games. But we will continue fighting, we have the confidence. We still have 12 points to fight for and if we can with the, I think we will able to make it,” Mawiwi said.
After their alluring five-star performance to beat Bosso 3-1 on Thursday, Caps were expected to tear a struggling Hwange apart, but a totally different team turned up yesterday.
While they dominated possession, they couldn’t create any meaningful chances, restricted only to some pot shots in the opening stanza.
It was Hwange who created the best chance of the first half which Nathan Ziwini failed to turn home from a cross with the ball falling for Shepherd Gadzikwa, who lost his footing and miscued his effort.
The home side continued to control possession after the breather but found themselves trailing when Munzabwa, who replaced an injured Valentine Musarurwa in the first half, failed to read the bounce of a hopeful ball from deep, which went through his legs to put Murimba away on goal.
The striker showed great composure to dink the ball over the outdrawn Sibanda. Zhuwawu drew his side level moments later when he curled home a loose ball inside the area. The young striker almost made it two three minutes later, his long range shot just dipping over the cross bar.
Both sides created some chances in a frenetic end to the match, but a draw is how things ended, a result which could have ended the two teams’ season ambitions.
Caps United: E Sibanda, V Musarurwa (C Munzabwa, 39′), K Nyamupfukudza (M Muchenje, 45′), G Goriyati, S Makatuka, D Chafa, J Ngodzo (A Kambanje, 60′), H Zvirekwi, P Bhamusi, J Zhuwawu, D Chungwa
Hwange: C Phiri, K Matake, G Ndlovu (C Phiri, 22′), C Dickson, M Mekiwa, A Chuma, S Gadzikwa, N Ziwini (A Banda, 81′), E Meleka, D Murimba, C Muvuti (J Kaunda, 81′)