Eddie Chikamhi, Harare Bureau
Mushowani Stars 1-2 Caps United
TONDERAYI Mateyaunga put up a great shift yesterday to help log leaders Caps United stage a typical smash and grab against stubborn newsboys Mushowani Stars in this Castle Lager Premiership football match at Trojan in Bindura.
The win was just what Makepekepe needed to secure their place at the top of the table after their closest rivals FC Platinum, ZPC Kariba and Chicken Inn stumbled yet again at the weekend.
The Green Machine grabbed the opportunity with both hands and they demonstrated they meant business when Kelvin Ndebele gave them a 13th minute lead following a well worked out move by Ronald Chitiyo.
Veteran Dominic Chungwa then secured the insurance goal for Makepekepe late on after another move started by Chitiyo.
Mushowani’s second half substitute Blessing Phiri reduced the arrears on the stroke of full-time but it was late for a comeback despite having had the visitors on the back foot for most of the time and thrice being denied by the woodwork.
Makepekepe are now five points clear at the top of the table much to the delight of coach Darlington Dodo.
“It was a tough game but I think we applied ourselves well and got the early goal that we wanted. If only we were to convert one or two more chances that we got especially in the first half we could have killed the game early but we left it until a bit late.
“We take that but we need to remain humble and focus on our games just like the way we have been doing. We have to keep working hard,” said Dodo.
Makepekepe went into the game two points clear at the top after their nearest rivals Chicken Inn, FC Platinum and ZPC Kariba stumbled yet again at the weekend.
It was quite an auspicious weekend for the Green Machine after champions FC Platinum and ZPC Kariba had played out a goalless draw the previous day.
Chicken Inn, who are also in the championship matrix, continued with their inconsistencies after they were held to a disappointing 1-1 stalemate by Chapungu at their Luveve home ground.
Mushowani had not lost a home game since Trojan got the nod from the grounds committee in June to host Premiership matches.
But the home team appeared overwhelmed and kick-off was delayed by 15 minutes to avoid commotion at the gates.
There were disturbing scenes before kick-off, a brawl between the clubs’ backroom supporting staff over juju.
The tensions were also flaring up in the terraces and the police had to intervene to quell the skirmishes.
When the game eventually started, Mushowani could have been left cursing their luck after hitting the crossbar on three occasions.
Caps United survived a barrage of attacks in both halves, with Mateyaunga producing a man-of-the-match performance that endeared him to the travelling fans who showered him with money.
“Tonde had a great game. Imagine it was his first game after a very long time. He had a very good outing, he kept us in the game.
“For them to hit the crossbar it means Tonde was well positioned, they could not beat him. It was good for the team, he kept us in the game and I am happy for him,” said Dodo.
Makepekepe surged ahead soon after Mateyaunga had denied exciting winger Sylon Chikwengwere from close-range in the first attempt of the match
But it was Caps United who took the lead through Ndebele who finished off from a fine set up by Ronald Chitiyo. But Mushowani did not take it lying down.
Caps United survived Carlos Musimwa’s powerful free-kick which rattled the crossbar with the keeper Mateyaunga at sea after 25 minutes.
Then Paul Charamba sent his shot over the bar with the goal at his mercy from a cross by Charles Rukwanhi.
Mushowani had another good chance just before the breather but for Clemence Zimondi went just wide in a melee inside the box.
Caps United, however, were conceding too many set-pieces in their own half Mateyaunga made a brilliant dive midway through second half to keep out a low shot by Charles Rukwanhi after Mushowani had won another free-kick in a dangerous position.
The former Dynamos keeper produced another classic save from the resultant corner.
Mushowani midfielder Joseph Tulani’s header crashed against the crossbar from a corner as the home side continued to squander opportunities from the many set-pieces they got around the Makepekepe goal.
Chungwa apparently put the game beyond the hosts reach with eight minutes remaining.
Chungwa was at the right place at the right moment when he got the insurance goal for Makepekepe after Chitiyo’s grounder crashed against the base of the upright.
Mushowani coach Newman Mushipe was distraught by the defeat which left his team still trapped in the relegation fights.
“Firstly I want to thank the boys for displaying good football. We did everything, we created chances but we just couldn’t convert. We hit the post three times, I think it just wasn’t our day. It’s so disappointing it was our first defeat here at Trojan but we just have to keep our focus and see what happens next,” said Mushipe.
Mushowani Stars: A. Masuku, E. Mafirenyika, C. Musimwa, M. Doley, W. Tafa, P. Chiramba (B. Phiri, 73rd min), C. Dzingayi, J. Tulani, S. Chikwerengwe (Mutandi, 74th min), C. Zimondi (A. Kambanje, 64th min), C. Rukwanhi.
Caps Utd: T. Mateyaunga, V. Musarurwa, C. Rusere, J. Jangano, G. Goriyati, K. Nyamupfukudza (D. Mukandi, 59th min), P. Bhamusi (J. Zhuwawu, 85th min), J. Ngodzo, R. Chitiyo, K. Ndebele (B. Sarupinda, 72nd min), D. Chungwa.