GREAT teams often win matches in knife edge, moments like these and in the end they usually ensure the result go their way.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
With ZPC Kariba having dominated the first half in which they attacked their opponents with the determination of a bee and the spirit of an ant, it was unimaginable that Caps United would turn the tables on their opponents.
Even their usually vociferous fans appeared to be waiting in vain hope rather than conviction.
But they did it, showing great character to come back from a goal down to seal victory four minutes from full time.
That is a marker of champions, a clear demonstration they are contenders not pretenders.
The sight of coach Darlington Dodo punching the air in delight at the final whistle with his backroom staff hoisting him, told it all.
Back to winning ways and back on top of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League pile.
Newman Sianchali who came in at the start of the second half, replacing Dominic Chungwa made the difference.
The former Highlanders forward, scored a memorable second half brace that helped Caps United seal victory and move back to the top of the Castle Lager Premiership.
Two points now separate them from nearest challengers Chicken Inn and FC Platinum with only four matches remaining in the campaign, pointing to an intriguing conclusion to the championship.
ZPC Kariba had started off brightly, launching a series of raids in Caps United’s goal and were dully rewarded for their efforts on 27 minutes with Godswill Gwara thrusting them into the lead with a low shot that beat goalkeeper Tonderai Mateyaunga.
However, second half changes by the Caps United coach helped the game turn on its head.
Dodo threw in Sianchali and Hardlife Zvirekwi who came in for Clive Rupiya.
That proved the magic as Caps United looked reinvigorated. It didn’t take time before Sianchali rattled the nets with an overhead kick on 57 minutes having initially failed to convert a rebound after Takabva Mawaya spilled a goal bound shot by Joel Ngodzo.
The visitors were kept in the game by Mawaya who repelled everything the Caps United strikers threw at him.
ZPC Kariba, however, finished the match with 10 men after Boniface Zuberi was sent off for a second bookable offence on 82 minutes.
Caps United went 2-1 up on 86 minutes with Sianchali completing his brace with a headed effort from a cross from the left by Valentine Musarurwa. The goal lit up Rufaro Stadium as fans broke into song and dance.
Dodo admitted after the match that his team was under pressure going into this match.
“We really wanted to win the match. This is why you could see we rushed our decisions in the first half because we were a little bit under pressure. When some teams play a day before, you always want to catch up and it’s usually very difficult to psyche the players. But I am happy with the victory, especially the second half performance was great. These boys showed character, they believe and kept probing,” said Dodo. His counterpart Godfrey Tamirepi conceded that the defeat was a setback but he was generally happy with his team’s performance.
Caps United; T Mateyaunga, J Jangano, G Goriathi, V Ndaba, (R Chitiyo 64’) D Mukandi, J Ngodzo, P Bhamusi, C Rupiya, (H Zvirekwi 46’), J Zhuwawo, D Chungwa (N Sianchali 46’)
ZPC Kariba; T Mawaya, R Tsepo, M Kunyarimwe, B Mutukure, J Marufu, B Juru, T Chiunye (B Zuberi 72’), C Muleya, G Gwara (S Gorogodyo 86’), K Nasama (T Nyamandwe 62’), T Chamboko