BY FORTUNE MBELE
CAPS UNITED……………………. 0
CAPS United missed the chance of opening a seven-point lead at the top of the log standings after they were beaten by Chicken Inn in a match that was marred by disturbances at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
On a day that their closest rival FC Platinum were held to a nil-all draw by Dynamos in Harare, in an equally chaotic match, Caps needed to win to move closer to the title.
However, they left Bulawayo empty handed and could face sanctions from the Premier Soccer League after their players walked off the pitch protesting against a penalty awarded to the home side in an ill-tempered clash.
Referee Happy Mabhena gave the hosts a disputed penalty which was converted by Passmore Bernard deep into the second half to thrust Chicken Inn back into title matrix.
Some Caps players, notably Carlos Rusere, substitute Blessing Sarupinda and Dominic Chungwa, appeared to be manhandling the referee after the game.
The fracas spilled over to the dressing rooms where windowpanes and doors to the match officials’ changing room were smashed.
With 17 minutes left to the final whistle, Mabhena adjudged that an attacking Obriel Chirinda was impeded inside the penalty box by goalkeeper Tonderai Mateyaunga.
The referee’s decision did not go down well with Caps players who protested and walked off the pitch only to be persuaded back by the club’s technical bench. The spot-kick was taken after a six-minute stoppage.
Chicken Inn could have doubled the lead two minutes into stoppage time, but substitute Sipho Ndlovu missed a sitter in a face-to-face encounter with Mateyaunga.
Coach Joey Antipas was excited after his side closed the gap to four points on Caps.
“This brings us back into the equation. I thought we should have blown them into oblivion in the first half because we had so many chances, but the guys did not take their chances. But all-in-all those three points are valuable,” Antipas said.
His counterpart Darlington Dodo was nowhere to be seen after the match in the ensuing commotion as the Caps entourage quickly got into their bus and left.