Green Ma­chine leads the pack

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Thu­peyo Mu­leya in Beit­bridge

Bor­der Strik­ers 1 - 3 Caps United CAS­TLE Lager Premier Soc­cer League ti­tle favourites Caps United put on a top drawer per­for­mance to dis­miss whip­ping boys Bor­der Strik­ers 3-1 at Dulivhadz­imu Sta­dium yes­ter­day.

The win took the Green Ma­chine to the top of the league ta­ble with 53 points af­ter fel­low ti­tle con­tenders FC Plat­inum fal­tered and sur­ren­dered top spot fol­low­ing a 1-2 loss to Harare City on Satur­day. FC Plat­inum are now sec­ond on 51 points and High­landers third with 50 points from 26 out­ings.

There were mi­nor skir­mishes in the morn­ing be­tween a group of Caps United fans and grounds­men, who barred the sup­port­ers from en­ter­ing the sta­dium at around 7AM.

Vet­eran marks­man Leonard Tsipa opened the scor­ing in the 21st minute through a div­ing header off a Phineas Ba­musi cross in­side the box.

How­ever, the lead lasted a few sec­onds as the home team replied from the restart through a Farai Mususunye strike af­ter be­ing set up by Liv­ing­stone Genti.

Both teams played some at­tack­ing foot­ball in the first half with Caps United dom­i­nat­ing the ex­changes. The vis­i­tors made use of their dom­i­nance by re­gain­ing the lead two min­utes be­fore the breather cour­tesy of Simba Nhivi af­ter Genti had failed to clear his lines un­der pres­sure.

Bor­der Strik­ers’ de­fender Shel­ton Muzamba earned him­self a red card just be­fore half time for crudely tack­ling Ron­ald Pfumbidzai in front of ref­eree Arnold Ncube.

Though Bor­der Strik­ers played a lot of at­tack­ing foot­ball, they clearly missed linkman God­frey Mukambi, who was serv­ing a sus­pen­sion for collecting three yel­low cards.

Caps United upped the tempo in the sec­ond half and camped in the hosts’ half look­ing for a third goal to kill off the match.

Coach Lloyd Chitem­bwe tight­ened the screws on Luke Ma­somere’s side by in­tro­duc­ing Do­minic Chungwa for the tired Tsipa on the hour mark.

Chungwa com­bined well with Ba­musi and Pfumbidzai, which re­sulted in them get­ting a late goal in the 88th min­utes through Tafadzwa Rusike who had come in for Ab­bas Amidu in the 69th minute.

Chitem­bwe said they had col­lected max­i­mum points be­cause his charges had con­verted the clear cut chances they cre­ated.

“We con­ceded an un­nec­es­sary goal and we wasted a lot of chances, but gen­er­ally I am happy with this vic­tory. The whole idea is to col­lect max­i­mum points to com­pete for the ti­tle,” said Chitem­bwe.

His Bor­der Strik­ers coun­ter­part Ma­somere said: “I am dis­ap­pointed with the re­sult though we played well. We have been work­ing hard on our at­tack, but we were our own en­e­mies as we cre­ated a lot of chances, but failed to con­vert and were pun­ished. This loss does not mean we are los­ing hope. We will fight to the last match of the sea­son. We will con­tinue work­ing on our short­com­ings so that we sur­vive rel­e­ga­tion. I per­son­ally want to win the next game.”

Caps United play­ers mob goalscorer Leonard Tsipa at Dulivhadz­imu Sta­dium in Beit­bridge yes­ter­day

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