BY HENRY MHARA
CAPS UNITED …….(0)1
CAPS United’s season is threatening to unravel after the log leaders dropped five points in two games following a drab draw against relegation strugglers Herentals at the National Sports Stadium yesterday.
After they were beaten by Chicken Inn last week, the Green Machine had to come from behind yesterday to nick a point against the resolute Students side, a result which saw their lead at the top of the log table being cut to two points.
Blessing Majarira gave the home side the lead on the 47th minute with a powerful shot from inside the box following some exciting interchanges. Majarira’s effort was cancelled by Dominic Chungwa’s header on the 56th minute.
In the build-up to this encounter, Caps coach Darlington Dodo had promised to show everyone why his side was top of the log table with Herentals in the relegation zone.
But in the end, it was Caps who eventually got away with it. Herentals hit the bar twice in both halves and had two refereeing decisions, including a penalty appeal going against them in the first half.
“They (Caps) survived if the truth can be told in terms of the chances,” commented Herentals coach Kumbirai Mutiwekuziva.
“We were better in creating and in shooting although we were missing. Our chances were almost goals and we should have taken all the three points,” added Mutiwekuziva, who reckons that the point that they gained was massive in their ambition of surviving relegation.
Mutiwekuziva also refused to blame referee Ruzive Ruzive for the calls against his side, saying the “referees are humans and are bound to make mistakes just like everybody else”.
Dodo shook his head and sighed heavily before responding to a question on how his side had performed way below expectations, especially at this stage of the season.
“Today, we didn’t play the way we wanted. We were blowing hot and cold. We had moments where we were brilliant then all of a sudden we crumbled. It is not really the game that we wanted, to be honest. In the end, we gave away two points. We were supposed to gain and maintain the lead that we had, unfortunately we missed the chance,” he said.
Dodo blamed the average performance on injuries to some of his key players.
Caps were missing three starters in their squad who include goalkeeper Tonderai Mateyaunga, Dominic Mukandi and Kudzi Nyamupfukudza.
Despite missing key players, they still dominated the early exchanges, playing like a team on top of the standings, but for all their dominance, they didn’t create real chances.
Phineas Bamusi wasted the best chance of the first half when he held onto the ball for too long after he had been picked by a cross at the far post.
Blessing Sarupinda then headed, blazing over from close range as the home side looked to take the lead.
Herentals were left fretting when Ruzive called play back for offside when Juan Mutudza had been put through.
The winger clearly came from an onside position and the assistant referee, who was in line with play, had his flag down.
Minutes later, the former referee of the year waved play-on when Caps defender Justice Jangano appeared to use his hand to block a cross.
Lady lucky continued to elude the Students who had Carlos Mavhurume rattling the underside of the cross bar at the end of the first half.
Herentals took just one minute of the second half to take the lead. A cross by the lively Mutudza was flicked on by Innocent Benza on to the path of Majarira who fired home.
Three minutes later, a screamer from way outside the box by second half substitute William Kapumha, using the outside of his boot, looked to be dipping inside the post, but somehow ricocheted on the upright.
After surviving the scare, Caps got their equaliser when Chungwa connected a cross from Valentine Musarurwa.
It almost got better for Caps moments later, but Ronald Chitiyo’s stinging shot was tipped over by Herentals goalkeeper Prince Tafiremutsa.
Caps had late chances to win the match, but Chungwa’s improvised shot flew just over the bar before Hardlife Zvirekwi produced a tame shot from a free kick just outside the box as the two teams settled for a draw which will do very little to assuage their ambitions this season.
Caps United: P Chigumba, V Musarurwa, J Jangano, L Zvasiya, C Rusere, B Sarupinda (N Sianchali, 81′), J Ngodzo (H Zvirekwi, 61′), P Bamusi, K Ndebele (J Zhuwawu, 61′), R Chitiyo, D Chungwa.
Herentals: P Tafiremutsa, C Mavhurume, G Chinobva, D Chitsanzara, R Hachiro, W Chimbetu, B Majarira (S Cheya, 81′), J Mutudza, N Muchadeyi (T Chitukutuku, 64′), P Chota, I Benza (W Kapumha, 53′)