CAPS UNITED . . . . .0
HIGHLANDERS . . . . .0
IF the two teams had scored goals, this match would have been extraordinary.
BY HENRY MHARA
The most disappointing of it all is that plenty of opportunities were created in this thriller played at a frenetic pace throughout at the giant National Sports Stadium.
Highlanders striker Newman Sianchali could have had a brace, twice missing one-on-one chances.
That Bosso coach Madinda Ndlovu was left to rue the absence of midfielder Denzel Khumalo, who scored a stunner against Yadah five days ago, and Tafadzwa Sibanda, tells the story.
Caps United missed chances of their own in a game that they initially dominated, before their youthful visitors took over the show.
In the end, both Ndlovu and his opposite Lloyd Chitembwe were satisfied with a point each.
More gratifyingly for the duo was the performance by their players, who dished what is one of the best matches watched in the league so far.
Ndlovu said: “Both teams played brilliant football, with Caps United taking the first half. They played possessional football, and at one stage, I thought today is the day I’m going to get five.
“But as the game progressed, my boys came to the party. They managed to contain them. In the second half, we stepped up the gear and attacked them, which worked very well for us.
“We managed to create reasonable chances, but not so reasonable in terms of joy because we missed quite a number of opportunities that we could have scored.
“But that is the name of the game, and I don’t blame the boys. Actually, I give them credit because for them to come here and play such kind of game shows the project is progressing well.”
Chitembwe was also left purring.
“Credit goes to both sets of players. This was a very good exhibition for our local football. I knew before the game that Highlanders are a football-playing team and they did just that,” he said.
“We also like to play football so this kind of performance was expected. We had our chances, and in the second half, they came much stronger, and created some good scoring opportunities, but they couldn’t convert them. At the end of the day, it was a well-deserved point, and we take it with pride.”
The home side started the match brightly, putting together some good passes intricately, but that was just that.
For all their possession, they never really troubled opposition goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda.
It was Highlanders who threatened the most, and should have taken the lead midway in the first stanza.
Sianchali was allowed to run after latching to an end of a misjudged Valentine Musarurwa back pass, but the striker shot straight at goalkeeper Prosper Chigumba.
The goalie was called to make another good save, denying Brian Banda, while Adrian Silla blazed wildly over.
Justice Jangano cleared off the line as Bosso continued to create better chances.
The United defence were making uncharacteristic blunders, and fortunately for them, Bosso strikers had left their scoring boots in Bulawayo.
Chitembwe’s men created the first chance of the second half, but Sibanda tipped over a Musarurwa shot two minutes after the restart.
It was then end-to-end and back again. If Sianchali’s first half miss was bad, then Banda’s towards the hour mark was glaringly horrible.
After Nigel Makumbe got behind the Caps United defence to charge into the penalty box and drawing Chigumba off his line, the midfielder unselfishly squared for Banda, who inexplicably directed the ball wide of an unguarded goal mouth.
Sibanda came to his team’s rescue with a point-blank save to keep an Abrisim Chidiebere close range shot after a good cross from Musarurwa.
At the other end, Sianchali missed again. Having cleverly nutmegged defender Method Mwanjale to run through on goal, he again shot straight at Chigumba, who directed the ball around the post.
Gabriel Nyoni should have won it late, but his bouncing header from a corner failed to gather enough flight and went straight into the grateful arms of Chigumba.
Caps United: P Chigumba, M Ncube, K Nyamupfukudza (H Zvirekwi, 63’), J Jangano, M Mwanjale, V Musarurwa, C Kamhapa, J Ngodzo, B Muzondiwa, W Mutasa, A Chidiebere
Highlanders: A Sibanda, M Phiri, P Muduhwa, M Ndlovu, A Silla, B Banda, N Sianchali, G Makaruse (R Lunga, 84’), N Makumbe (P Musaka, 68’), T Ndlovu, G Nyoni