THIS was not the best of performances from Caps United, by the standards expected of them, but the Lloyd Chitembwe-coached side did enough to beat newly-promoted Border Strikers to move to the top of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League table.BY HENRY MHARA – NEWSDAY
Substitute Leonard Tsipa converted from a free-kick just outside the box on 48th minute with his first touch of the ball in a match that never really hit the top gear.
With the win, Caps United dislodged FC Platinum at the top, who were held by Harare City on Saturday. Both teams have 13 points, but the Harare side enjoys a better goal difference.
Chitembwe was not concerned with the performance of his team at the National Sports Stadium.
“It was not pretty as we would have wanted, but if we manage to get three points when not at our best, then it’s good,” Chitembwe said. “We are happy with the result, it’s a win, isn’t it? We don’t look at what other teams are doing, but concentrate on ourselves. If it’s true that they (FC Platinum) dropped points, it’s very unfortunate for them, but as for us we are happy with where we are (on the log).”
Their opponents yesterday were still pointless and are at the bottom of the log standings.
Coach Saul Chaminuka is beginning to get worried.
“A lot of things at the club are not right and obviously I’m worried,” Chaminuka said. “But in the field of play we are working hard to improve. We did our best today, but not too well because if we had done that, we could have won the match. We should improve in terms of converting our chances because we are getting into good positions, but failing to score,” Chaminuka said.
As expected, the home side dominated proceedings from the onset and could have taken the lead in the opening minute, but Simba Nhivi chose to screw his effort wide — the first of his four misses from good positions in the first half.
The former Dynamos forward then shot wide moments later and when the next chance again fell his way, he made a bad decision, choosing to pass the ball to on-rushing teammates instead of taking a shot at goal.
But Nhivi was not the only one from the Caps United team guilty of missing good chances.
His partner upfront Dominic Chungwa directed his shot wide, connecting the ball with his sheen before Archford Gutu, making his first start, somehow scooped a rebound over the bar after the visiting keeper Talent Sande had fumbled the initial shot.
The closest the home side came to finding the opener in the first half was in the 34th minute when Ronald Pfumbidzai’s effort from the corner kick, hit the post of the goal before it was cleared.
Border Strikers were content on sitting back and absorbing pressure. They were so poor in terms of attack as they failed to muster a single shot at goal in the first half.
Border Strikers were forced to make a substitute due to an injury to attacking midfielder Saul Chaminuka Jnr just after the half hour mark who was then replaced by Kudzanai Kwashi.
Caps made their first change at the start of the second half, Gutu making way for Tsipa and the move paid dividends quickly.
The log leaders were awarded a free-kick just outside the box, and Tsipa, with his first touch, curled the ball over the wall and into the nets.
The goal forced Chaminuka’s side out of their shells as they started to string passes between and venturing forward purposefully.
On 50th minute, a good build-up freed Kalunga Tembwe whose first touch let him down and Caps keeper Jorum Muchambo rushed from his line to collect the ball.
The Beitbridge-side continued to see more of the ball, but never really tested Muchambo.
Caps, who were struggling with the game in the second period, made some sporadic attacks with Nhivi stinging the palms of the keeper after being allowed to bring down a high ball before taking a shot.
To say they were jittery late on could be an understatement, but to their credit, they managed to see the game off without too much trouble.
Caps United: J Muchambo, H Zvirekwi, R Pfumbidzai, J Jangano, S Makatuka, M Mwanjale, A Gutu (L Tsipa, 46’), J Ngodzo (V Musarurwa, 90’), P Bhamusi, S Nhivi, D Chungwa (K Nyamupfukudza, 63’).
Border Strikers: T Sande, P Muzondo, M Variso, F Makarati, E Mininga, G Mukambi, G Livingstone, B Chirumhanzu, T Muchaya (T Mukambi, 60’), S Chaminuka (K Kudzanai, 34’), T Kalunga (T Jaravani, 70’)