Green Ma­chine on the prowl

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport -

Makepekepe needed to soak the pres­sure play­ing with the knowl­edge that their main ri­vals in the race, FC Plat­inum, had won a big match against Dy­namos at Man­dava on Satur­day to open a four-point gap be­tween them.

High­landers, who are in third place, also made sure that the last five games of the sea­son will be cap­ti­vat­ing when they won their match against new­boys Ngezi Plat­inum 2-1 at Bar­bour­fields yes­ter­day.

FC Plat­inum lead the marathon with 51 points while Caps United moved to 50 in sec­ond place. High­landers are breath­ing down their necks on 47 points.

Chitem­bwe was a happy man yes­ter­day as goals from Den­nis Dauda, Leonard Tsipa and Chungwa se­cured max­i­mum points for the Green Ma­chine.

The end­ing was mag­i­cal as emo­tions took over the show both on the pitch and on the ter­races with two goals scored in the last three min­utes of the game.

It had looked like the match would end in a share of the spoils when How Mine’s Mil­ton Ncube scored from the spot right on the stroke of time to level the scores af­ter God­frey Ngu­wodzawo had re­duced the ar­rears in the 71st minute. Chungwa then set­tled the mat­ters with a bril­liant header just mo­ments into added time to ig­nite wild cel­e­bra­tions among the

Makepekepe faith­fuls.

Their coach Chitem­bwe should have felt the great­est re­lief with the vic­tory af­ter his team had ap­par­ently given away a two-goal lead.

The for­mer mid­fielder was im­pressed with his charges per­for­mance al­though he felt his team lost the steam in the sec­ond half. Caps United are des­per­ate to end an 11-year bar­ren spell in the quest for the Premier­ship ti­tle.

“I think it was very vi­tal for us to col­lect the three points so that we keep the mo­men­tum and keep the pres­sure on the lead­ers. Of course, I am nat­u­rally happy with the re­sult but I thought it was a game of two halves. The first half was ab­so­lutely per­fect but the sec­ond was not as good.

“All the same, the re­silience and the char­ac­ter the boys showed was out of this world. When ev­ery­thing got gloomy, the boys rose (to the ocas­sion) and we got what we de­served out of this match.

“I hon­estly be­lieve we de­served three points con­sid­er­ing the way we dom­i­nated in the first half. I thought the game was for us. It was go­ing to be very un­fair for us not to col­lect the three points.

“All the same, what’s more im­por­tant is the re­sult,” said Chitem­bwe.

Caps United and FC Plat­inum are run­ning neck and neck with five games re­main­ing in the sea­son. FC Plat­inum though have a one point ad­van­tage.

Makepekepe needed noth­ing short of vic­tory yes­ter­day to boost their con­fi­dence. They got all their goals from cor­ner kicks as their op­po­nents strug­gled to deal with set-pieces.

Dauda gave Caps United the strong start they had hoped for when he made a sui­ci­dal slide at the back post to bury a cor­ner from Ron­ald Pfumbidzayi.

Tsipa added to their tally when he headed home from close range af­ter Pfumbidzayi had kept the ball in from an­other Caps United cor­ner taken by Hardlife Zvirekwi.

The 34-year-old striker took his tally to nine goals this sea­son and re­mained joint top scorer with Hwange’s Gift Mb­weti who was also on tar­get yes­ter­day to take the tally to nine goals.

But How Mine re­turned from the breather stronger and hit back through sub­sti­tute Ngu­wodzawo who also took ad­van­tage of poor de­fend­ing by Caps United from a cor­ner by Them­bai Ma­suku.

How Mine then won a penalty when Dauda fouled Toto Banda in­side the box. For­mer War­riors left­back Ncube stepped up and lev­elled the scores in the 90th minute.

The home side’s sup­port­ers, who were singing and danc­ing all along, had sud­denly frozen. But then Makepekepe were not done.

Caps United won a cor­ner and Pfumbidzayi swerved

Lloyd Chitem­bwe

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