Caps United are confident of progressing to the first round of the Caf Champions League despite their nil-all draw with Lesotho’s Lioli in the first leg of the preliminary round qualifier played in Maseru on Saturday. BY HENRY MHARAIN MASERU, LESOTHO
Captain Moses Muchenje, who was an unused substitute for Caps United in the match, still believes his side will progress to the next stage.
“It’s not going to be any easy match, but the good thing is we now know how they play. If we can manage to utilise the chances we will create, I don’t see this team stopping us. We would have wanted a better result than the one we got, but we still have a good chance. We play the return match at home, so it’s ours to lose really,” he said.
The Green Machine created a number of opportunities against the minnows, which they squandered.
The hosts also showed great positional organisation and discipline to contain Caps United.
Caps enjoyed a lot of the ball possession, but they struggled in front of goal.
The nearest Caps came to scoring was when Abbasi Amidu hit the upright just after the break.
The two sides meet at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday for the decisive second leg.
Caps United need an outright win to progress to the first round, while any other result could complicate their chances.
A repeat of the Saturday result in Harare will force the match into a penalty shootout, while a scoring draw will benefit Lioli.
The Harare giants were imperious last season at home, where they went unbeaten in league matches on their way to clinch the domestic title. They only lost once at the giant stadium the whole of the season, in a Chibuku Super Cup first round match against Tsholotsho.
Muchenje is banking on that home form.
“We want to continue with our dominance at home. We want to take our domestic form at home to Africa. If we can be able to do well, I see ourselves going far in this competition.”
While Caps dominated the match and could have won it comfortably, they also survived few scares in the match.
Mistakes by the central defensive pair of Dennis Dauda and Justice Jangano almost gifted Lioli, but goalkeeper, Edmore Sibanda produced a super save to deny the hosts in a one-on-one situation.
“They [Lioli] are a very good side, but the good thing they didn’t score a goal. We know they will target an away goal and to make things difficult for us. They will come at us and we have to prepare for that. They will open up a bit at some stage in the match and we should be able to capitalise. We should also minimise mistakes on our part.”
Caps United were forced to make a last minute change to their starting line up, with Joel Ngodzo dropped due to a discrepancy on his documentation.
The date of birth on his passport was different from that on the player’s licence issued by Caf.
Kudzanai Nyamufukudza, who had been named on the substitutes’ bench, had the same problem and also ended up watching the match from the terraces.
Ngodzo’s absence could be one of the reasons for Caps United’s lack of creativity.
Ronald Chitiyo was burdened by the responsibility of providing creativity, but he didn’t play to expectations and was subsequently substituted late into the match.
“We could have done better in all the aspects of the match. The changes didn’t affect us much. We had to tweak our tactics a bit, but we are happy with the way the replacements performed. I’m happy with how everyone put up. They put up a good work and we looking forward to the Sunday match. We have to just rectify a few things,” Muchenje said.