CAPS United recovered from last week’s defeat at the hands of Dynamos to complete a double over Chicken Inn at the National Sports Stadium, Harare, yesterday, but there were still question marks on the team’s second half performance.
Caps United…………. (1)…….1
Kelvin Bulaji scored the priceless goal for the Green Machine on 15th minute, three minutes after defender Ronald Pfumbidzai had his penalty saved by Chicken Inn goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze.
Bulaji, who had created the penalty, was substituted towards the half-hour mark after picking an injury.
Caps United coach Taurai Mangwiro said the win couldn’t have come at a better time.
“It wasn’t an easy match, but the good thing is that we managed to grind a result. It was a good result especially after so much noise had been made after we lost to Dynamos last week. We would want to be near the top and keep pace with the other leading teams,” Mangwiro whose side remained on fourth position on the log standings with 30 points, two behind leaders Highlanders, said.
It’s not looking good for Chicken Inn, and yesterday’s defeat was their fourth in a row to leave the Bulawayo side on 10th position with 20 points, just two points from a team that is sitting on the relegation cut-off point.
Pressure is on the team’s coach Joey Antipas with reports yesterday suggesting that the axe is slowly descending on the beleaguered gaffer.
“I think we started slowly, but we were the better side in the second half,” Antipas said. “We created chances, but we couldn’t finish them. Lady luck did not smile at us again because we did everything in this match. The Gods must be crazy,” he added before walking away from journalists.
Mangwiro made four changes to the team that lost 1-2 to Dynamos last week. Tafadzwa Dube started in goal ahead of Jorum Muchambo.
Captain Tapiwa Kumbuyani recovered from an injury to start on right-back while Takudzwa Mahori and Bulaji were also named on the starting eleven.
It was the hosts who were seeing much of the ball early on and they were awarded a penalty after Bulaji was hacked down inside the six-yard box as he was about to shoot.
Pfumbidzai took responsibility, but Chipezeze dived to his left to block the effort.
The miss didn’t matter much as just three minutes later, Bulaji sneaked from behind Lawrence Mhlanga, controlled and toe-poked the ball past the goalkeeper.
But Bulaji had to be withdrawn 13 minutes later after picking an injury, being replaced by Pervington Zimunya. It was all about Caps United at this moment as they created the better chances.
The tide would change after the half hour mark – the visitors having more possession, but doing very little with it.
Honey Chimutimunzeve should have doubled Caps United lead with five minutes remaining to the break when he was set through, but took his time in front of goal and Chicken Inn recovered to clear the danger.
The former Bantu Rovers striker was almost punished immediately, but Thabani Goredema headed over a Bheki Ncube cross when it was easier to hit the back of the net than to miss as Caps went to the half time leading.
But just like in their match against Dynamos last week, Caps players were just poor in the second half. Had it not been for the brilliance of Dube coupled withChicken Inn’s poor finishing, GameCocks could have easily ran away with this match.
Clemence Matawu blasted over from a good range at the hour mark while the galloping Passmore Bernard forced a good save from Dube moments later as Chicken Inn pressed for an equaliser. Former Highlanders towering midfielder Ncube skillfully made his way into the box, but tripped himself at the crucial moment as another chance went begging for the GameCocks.
Caps almost put the match to bed with five minutes remaining, but Chipezeze somehow managed to turn away Chimutimunzeve’s deflected shot.
At the other end, Ncube’s glancing header from a corner-kick was cleared off the line and the follow-up was horrible from Ishmael Lawe.
The last few minutes of the match belonged to Dube who produced a string of saves to thwart Chicken Inn who were throwing everything at their opponents.