BY TERRY MADYAUTA
IF Caps United are going to lose this championship at the end of the season, they will probably look back at this defeat as the day they gave it away.
After rivals FC Platinum fell to a surprise 1-0 defeat at the hands of Bulawayo Chiefs on Saturday, this match against relegation strugglers TelOne presented an opportunity for the Green Machine to extend their lead at the top by five points.
This was a chance for them to put one hand on the trophy.
But typical of their performance in recent weeks, they blew the chance after they were blown away by a clinical TelOne side in what was an entertaining match at Ascot Stadium yesterday.
Caps remain top of the log standings by just two points and any slip up in the coming weeks, it’s highly unlikely they will be this lucky.
With five games remaining, they won’t afford any more slip ups in this tight race which no one seems keen to win.
To their credit though, Caps created a number of chances, but their poor conversion let them down, with the attacking trio of Dominic Chungwa, Newman Sianchali and Phineas Bamusi having a bad day at the office.
For the hosts, they did the job early with two first half goals from King Nadolo and Fradrick Muza sealing maximum points for the Rahman Gumbo-coached side.
The WiFi Boys were also denied what appeared three genuine penalties by match day referee Nkosana Nduna.
Nadolo broke the deadlock on the 37th minute when he tapped home a long clearance from goalie Rapheal Pitisi.
Muza doubled the scores seven minutes later with a powerful volley, just about 20 yards from the box after being picked up by an unmarked by Nadolo.
After the defeat, Caps remained stuck on 51 points, while TelOne moved out of the relegation zone to 14th position with 32 points, one point above Herentals and Hwange who are sitting on the relegation cut-off point.
Caps coach Darlington Dodo was a frustrated man.
“Obviously, I am disappointed with the loss, especially after missing so many clear-cut chances in the first half and then we made mistakes, literally presenting them with goals,” he said.
“We are still in it, the boys are mentally strong enough to finish off the season, but there is need for us to correct the mistakes we made today.”
Gumbo said: “To be honest, it was a balanced game. Caps had their chances in the first 20 minutes, but failed to convert. We had our chances and we got two brilliant goals which could win a match any day. Today, we dominated, but later on collapsed in the final minutes, but I am happy they managed to hold on until the final whistle.”
Caps had chances, but were let down by a combination of poor finishing and bad luck.
Blessing Sarupinda weaved past two TelOne defenders Steven Phiri and Trust Nyabinde before unleashing a thunderbolt that hit the upright. Hardlife Zvirekwi’s effort from the rebound was tame.
Phineas Bamusi also neatly worked his way into the box, carving in a low cross that found no takers with Pitisi flat footed.
TelOne: R Pitisi, M Chigumira, S Phiri, T Nyabinde, I Zambezi, E Zinyama, K Nadolo (J Muzokomba 90’), E Mandiranga, M Moyo, F Muza (G Bvundura, 77’), F Nkala (D Temwanjira, 37’).
Caps United: P Chigumba, H Zvirekwi, J Jangano, L Zvasiya, V Ndaba, D Mukandi, B Sarupinda (J Ngodzo, 46’), P Bamusi, R Chitiyo, N Sianchalli (K Ndebele, 46’), D Chungwa (J Zhuwao, 73’)