BY Kevin Mapasure
Caps UNITED ………(0)2 Triangle……………(0)1
While it was a whacky Wednesday for their title rivals, it turned out to be a wicked one for Caps United as they conjured another win that took them back to the top of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League table.
The Green Machine went into their match against Triangle determined to collect all the three points and driven by their never-say die attitude, they recovered from a second half setback to rally and win the match.
With Chicken Inn losing to Highlanders and ZPC Kariba falling to Ngezi Platinum Stars, the Caps win did a world of wonders for their title aspirations as they opened a three point gap between themselves and their main rivals who also include FC Platinum.
Ronald Chitiyo rose from the bench to cancel a Timothy January penalty before defender Godwin Goriyati hit the winning goal just two minutes before the final whistle.
While several chances were created in the first half, the first moments of the second, the excitement was turned up on 66 minutes when Caps captain Valentine Musarurwa felled January in the 18-yard box for the referee to point to the spot.
January stepped up to beat Prosper Chigumba in goals for Caps and things looked gloomy for the Green Machine.
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Yet amid the adversity, the Green Machine players never dropped their heads and from the restart they continued with their push as if they were in a cup final.
The small, but lively crowd went into silence when Caps conceded; probably conceding that victory had eluded their team.
But six minutes after the visitors’ goal, Phineas Bamusi went on one of his trademark runs, delivering a high cross, which looked harmless due to its elevation, yet one of the shortest men on the field, Chitiyo, sprung like a basketball superstar to plant the ball into the back of the net.
Suddenly, the mood changed in the grand stands, the music resumed once again as hope had been restored.
A point wasn’t enough and the push was to continue as Caps would only settle for all on offer.
Bamusi was a constant threat as was young Kelvin Ndebele on the right who was a menace from the time he replaced Clive Rupiya just after the break.
Triangle defenders tried to stand their ground, especially captain Ralph Kawondera who was unyielding.
But with the clock ticking towards the end of the match, Caps won a corner on the left and Ndebele delivered a cross that found Musarurwa at the back post, who in turn laid off for Goriyati to finish off.
If the music was loud before this goal, then it became much louder as the small crowd was warmed up on this chilly afternoon.
News from elsewhere came as an icing on the cake, especially with bitter rivals Dynamos failing to win, with Lloyd Chitembwe’s Harare City plunging back into the relegation zone with another defeat while FC Platinum, ZPC Kariba and Chicken Inn all dropped points, it was another good day for the Green Machine.
While the job was completed in the second half, they could have gone to the break in a more comfortable position had they taken their chances in the first period.
Newman Sianchali fluffed two headed opportunities on both occasions, failing to hit the target.
Bamusi had a close range shot brilliantly saved by Triangle goalkeeper Ronald Mudimu, while the visitors offered very little going forward.
Caps coach Darlington Dodo was pleased with the spirit and attitude of his players, particularly when they had gone behind.
“We thrive on our good attackers who have the speed. We just have to show the spirit that we showed in the last 20 minutes, the attitude was second to none. Sometimes you fail to understand where these players get that drive from. That is what we expect as Caps,” he said after the match.
Triangle coach Taurai Mangwiro saluted Caps for their fighting spirit, adding his side’s success in the Confederations Cup was affecting their home form, especially with the travelling involved.
“Caps United’s incessant pressure paid off after we had taken the lead, they never gave up. On our part, we failed to hold on to our lead for long. At the end of the day, we have lost the fourth match on the trot and it is not looking good,” he said.
Caps United: P Chigumba, V Musarurwa, G Goriyati, M Mwanjale, C Rusere, K Nyamupfukudza, J Ngodzo (Blessing Sarupinda 91), P Bamusi, C Rupiya (K Ndebele 46), D Chungwa, N Sianchali (Chitiyo 61)
Triangle: R Mudimu, T Mugoniwa, A Chiveya, D Dzingai, R Kawondera, T Mavhunga, D Mudadi, G Bero, A Tavarwisa (Chintuli 80) C Dhuwa, T January