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by Sports Reporter
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CAPS United 2-1 Monomotapa

CAPS United's bid for their first league title since 2006 remained on course Sunday after they edged a battling Monomotapa 2-1 at the National Sports Stadium.

Newboy Dominic Chungwa thrust Caps United ahead on 19 minutes into the match with former Gunners midfielder Moses Chenje converting a second half penalty that ensured Taurai Mangwiro's men collected maximum points.

More importantly, the win saw them leaping to fourth position with 31 points- six adrift of log leaders Harare City who defeated FC Platinum on Saturday.

Sunday’s win was Caps' first victory over Monomotapa since 2006 and, with bitter rivals Dynamos managing just a 0-0 draw against bottom side Black Rhinos in Kadoma, the victory even sweeter for the Green Machine.

United goalkeeper’s coach Brenna Msiska was delighted with the victory.

“We are happy with three points. This team had given us problems but today we have beaten them. We played well but missed a good number of chances," he said.

United dominated in the first half in which they bombarded the Monomotapa goal with an assortment of shots but lucky deserted them somehow.

But their dominance initially counted for little as they were restricted to a narrow victory and Monoz could have even escaped with a point as they took the game to their opponents in the second half.

Mangwiro’s men however, showed a lot of verve especially in the first half with roving left back Ronald Pfumbidzai delivering a wonderful cross into the penalty area in the second minute but it found no takers.

In the 10th minute, Ismael Lawe wasted a good opportunity when he directed his effort over the bar after winning the ball in the penalty area.

In the 16th minute, Monoz came close with forward Agrippa Murimba winning a foot race with Tawanda Munyanduri and unleashed a shot which however, crashed against the upright.

As Monoz were beginning to threaten United, they cracked on 19 minutes with Chungwa forcing his way between defenders Sithole and Morgan Mungombe before placing the ball besides an advancing goalkeeper Tapiwa Zvaita.

That goal appeared to have deflated Monoz’s hopes as the Caps United attacked relentlessly but their finishing was poor with Nyamandwe guilty of a glaring miss in the 36th minute after he was set up by Benson Maglas in the danger zone. With a yawning goal, the towering striker chose to put power behind the ball to miss with a wild effort which was met with a chorus of disapproval from the supporters.


But he was not the only one, as Rahman Kutsanzira also missed a good chance on 42 minutes as Caps United practically camped in Monomotapa goal area.
However, Biggie Zuze’s men refused to be cowed into submission as they also threatened with Lawe coming close at the stroke of the first half.

However, Monoz fell further behind soon after the second half, with Sithole needlessly bringing down Nyamandwe in the penalty area as he looked for space after he found himself surrounded by a cluster of defenders.

The referee pointed to the spot and Moses Muchenje showed conviction as he stepped up to take responsibility. The stakes were too high and there was no room for mistakes and the former Gunners midfielder coolly converted for Caps’ second goal.

Zuze then introduced Hamilton Masumbuko for Praise Tonha eight minutes into the second half with Mangwiro also responding by pulling out Maglas and throwing in Gerald Phiri.

It nearly paid dividends for Mangwiro as Nyamandwe and Kutsanzira came close. It was however, in the 67th minute in which Phiri could have registered his name on the score sheet after coming face to face with the keeper only for his effort to crash against the upright.

Three minutes later Nyamandwe breached the Monoz defence but was slow in reaction as he allowed a defender to clear the ball out of danger as he prepared to take a crack at goal.

But Monoz refused to throw in the towel and Nelson Meson had the ball in the back of the nets after winning possession on the left before cutting inside and then placed the ball besides Caps United goalkeeper Jorum Muchambo who stood in for Tafadzwa Dube who was away on national duty in Zambia.
In the 76th minute, skipper Hillary Mugoniwa could have leveled matters but his effort missed target by a few inches.

Zuze accepted defeat after the match.

“Credit to Caps United they played well especially in the first half but we came stronger in the second half and could have got a point,” he said.

“They showed great character (but) I don’t remember losing to Caps United since I joined Monomotapa some three years ago.”

Weekend Results

Sunday: Buffaloes 3-1 Triangle United; Black Rhinos 0-0 Dynamos, Highlanders 1-0 Hwange

Saturday: Black Mambas 3-2 Chicken Inn; Motor Action 0-0 Tripple B; How Mine 0-1 Shabanie Mine; Harare City 1-0 FC Platinum.

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