BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
CAPS UNITED . . . . . . . . . . . (2) 2
MANICA DIAMONDS . . . . . . . . 0
CAPS United gave a glimpse of their future target with a good show that helped them overcome Premiership newboys Manica Diamonds in a Castle Lager Premiership opener at the National Sports Stadium yesterday.
With the victory coming a week before their epic clash against old foes Highlanders in Bulawayo, it lifted their spirits as they seek to reclaim their dominance of domestic football.
More importantly, the win provided a convincing case of their credentials given that, while Manica Diamonds are playing in the premier division for the first time after their
promotion, they have several experienced players including former Dynamos captain Patson Jaure, Timire Mamvura and Marshall Mudehwe, among others.
Despite Manica Diamonds dominating the second half, Caps United managed to protect their lead to escape with maximum points. It was all down to good game management and finishing.
The Green Machine looked organised and reinvigorated and dominated the first half of the match with some methodical build-ups.
They were a thorn in the flesh for the visitors in the final third with Gabriel Nyoni and Phineas Bhamusi troubling the Manica Diamonds defence marshalled by Jaure.
They raced into the lead four minutes into the match, with striker John Zhuwawo profiting from sloppy defending by the visitors to score in a goal mouth melee following a wonderful set-up by Nyoni.
Striker Dominic Chungwa was injured and replaced by Kudzanai Nyamupfukudza on the quarter hour, but that did not derail Caps United momentum who had midfielder and new signing
Blessing Sarupinda in good form.
Nyoni earned a penalty for Caps United on 23 minutes, after he was hacked down in the area by defender Lawrence Masibhera.
Joel Ngodzo, stepped up to double the lead as the home team continued to dominate. The visitors struggled to break down Caps United in the first half, but towards the end,
Mamvura came close with a speculative shot that, however, sailed over the bar.
The second half, however, belonged to the visitors who showed great ambition and pressed forward, pinning Caps United in their own half. The introduction of winger Mudehwe and
Ishmael Lawe appeared to bring pace and urgency in their attack.
However, the former champions remained resolute to emerge victors against a team that gave them problems in the end.
Caps United coach Lloyd Chitembwe said he was pleased with the performance of his charges as well as the outcome.
“I am very much satisfied. We played very well in the first half. We controlled the match with some methodical build-ups and we were well organised. Our ball distribution was
also good, but I thought in the second half we lost control. We, however, managed our objective in the first half and second half. They pressed forward and we wanted to catch
them on the counter and in the end I am very happy with the performance. The new signings Bhamusi and Nyoni gave us the speed which we lacked last season and I think they did well today and can even do better,” he said.
His counterpart Luke Masomere said the mistakes they made in the first half cost them the match.
“We made mistakes in the first half. Defensively, we were not organised, we didn’t play well as a team. But in the second half, we rectified our mistakes and we regained
control of the match. Unfortunately we couldn’t put away the chances we created. From here we will go back and work on our next match,” he said.
Caps United: P Chigumba, M Mwanjali, B Sarupinda (N Sianchali, 69’), V Musaruwa, V Ndaba, G Goriyati, J Ngodzo, G Nyoni, P Bhamusi (H Zvirekwi, 86’), J Zhuwawo, D Chungwa (K Nyamupfukudza, 17’)
Manica Diamonds: J Muchambo, L Masibhera, P Mphelele, N Jachi, P Jaure, T Mamvura, T Jeffrey, W Mutasa (I Lawe, 53’), T Mukono (B Marere, 79’), S Sibanda (M Mudehwe, 53’), S Ngala