Caps United edge closer

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Ed­die Chikamhi

Caps United 1- 0 Ngezi Plat­inum Stars CAPS United striker Simba Nhivi says Makepekepe have come a long way and want to avoid stum­bling at the last hur­dle af­ter he scored the only goal of the match against Ngezi Plat­inum Stars at the Na­tional Sports Sta­dium yes­ter­day.

It kept Harare gi­ants strongly in the hunt for this year’s ti­tle ahead of the cru­cial last round of matches.

Nhivi’s 35th minute strike set­tled the mat­ters yes­ter­day as the Green Ma­chine edged closer to end­ing an 11-year cham­pi­onship drought with a cru­cial win.

Caps United main­tained pole po­si­tion with a two­point ad­van­tage over sec­ond placed FC Plat­inum who kept the pres­sure when they thrashed High­landers 3-0 at Man­dava to set up an in­trigu­ing fin­ish to this year’s marathon.

Now with 60 points in the bag, Caps United travel to Cha­pungu next week for the de­ci­sive fix­ture while FC Plat­inum will also be away in Bu­l­awayo to face Tsholot­sho in their last match of the sea­son.

Nhivi found him­self un­marked in­side the box and did well to place the ball beyond na­tional team fringe goal­keeper Nel­son Chadya af­ter get­ting to the end of Ron­ald Pfumbidzai’s pass.

His ef­forts earned him the man-of-the-match award that was spon­sored by the club’s sup­port­ers and he walked away with a ham­per.

“It’s not about the in­di­vid­u­als, at the end of the day it’s about the team. It’s Caps United who won and not Simba.

“Every­one worked hard for this win. We just need to be more fo­cused and have more de­sire go­ing into the last match against Cha­pungu,” said Nhivi.

“We needed these three points. It’s very cru­cial at this time of the sea­son. As Caps United, we have come very far. We worked hard to be where we are to­day.

“And to win a match such as this is very mo­ti­vat­ing. I must say every­one was fo­cused against Ngezi Plat­inum be­cause we knew we were go­ing to face a team with good qual­ity play­ers. They man­aged to stretch us to the limit and we want thank God for this win.

“We have worked hard as a team, be­ing led by the ex­pe­ri­ence of peo­ple such as Leonard Tsipa. He is a qual­ity striker, the lead­ing goal scorer of the sea­son. It’s some­thing mo­ti­vat­ing play­ing side by side with a vet­eran such as him. We are very mo­ti­vated.”

Nhivi could have fin­ished with a brace when he found space in the 80th minute but goal­keeper Chadya had his goal cov­ered when he used his leg to stop a low shot af­ter sub­sti­tute Dominic Chungwa had mist­imed a cross by Phineas Ba­musi. How­ever, Caps United’s win did not come easy. The Harare gi­ants had to grap­ple with anx­ious mo­ments against a well-drilled Ngezi Plat­inum Stars side which nearly spoiled the af­ter­noon as early as the sec­ond minute when Ter­rence Dzvuka­manja weaved his way from the mid­dle and un­leashed a rocket that nearly trou­bled goal­keeper Ed­more Sibanda.

The re­lief on the ter­races was clear as the ball crashed against the wood­work with Kelvin Bu­laji fail­ing to con­trol his header from the re­bound.

Makepekepe had a bigger crowd yes­ter­day as the sup­port­ers ap­par­ently are be­gin­ning to sense vic­tory.

The Pre­mier­ship new­boys had ap­peals for a penalty turned down af­ter Pfumbidzai ap­peared to han­dle in­side the box, stand­ing in a crowd of play­ers, but ref­eree Arnold Ncube from Masvingo waved on, lead­ing to an­i­mated protests by the vis­it­ing play­ers.

Ngezi Plat­inum Stars coach Ton­derai Ndi­raya and his play­ers ac­knowl­edged they lost the match but felt hard done by the de­ci­sion to deny them a penalty.

“One mo­ment can de­cide a match and I thought that’s what hap­pened to­day. A draw could have been a fair re­sult if that de­ci­sion had gone our way,” said Ndi­raya.

“But we had 90 min­utes to win the match and we couldn’t do that so I think it’s not good to mourn over one in­ci­dent.

“We had all the time to play and try and win the game. So I wouldn’t want to mourn over that in­ci­dent. We just have to move on,” said Ndi­raya.

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