CAPS United . . . . . . . . . . (0) 0
FC Platinum . . . . . . . . . . (0) 0
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
IF ONLY ageless CAPS United striker Leonard Tsipa had kept his composure to slot home from six yards in the epic top-of-the-table football clash, the Harare giants would be sitting on top of the log after the league match at the National Sports Stadium yesterday.
But alas, he crushed his shot against the crossbar when it seemed easier to score and the visitors, FC Platinum, remain the pacesetters after a rather fortuitous draw.
However, there may have been more to Tsipa’s miss than just his ability or technique, as goals mysteriously dried up at all the other venues, where premier league matches were being played across the country.
Three other fixtures played at the same time around the country also ended in goalless stalemates, to cap a worryingly barren day for local football.
Four other week 18 fixtures are lined-up for today, with former champions Dynamos who have been battling with goalless draws in the past four matches hoping to finally stop the drought and score a goal away to Border Strikers.
Ironically, DeMbare last scored a league goal against Border Strikers on July 11 in the capital.
Other matches that provide hope for goals in this round include Triangle’s home date with Highlanders and the relegation battle between Mutare City and Tsholotsho, while How Mine host Harare City.
As for CAPS United and FC Platinum, they failed to score against each other in 180 minutes of football in a nil-all draw in the reverse fixture at Mandava in July.
CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe feels that the two teams failed to breach each other’s defence simply because they are top teams.
“They [CAPS United and FC Platinum] are very good teams and this is the reason why they are where they are. This is the reason they have scored the most number of goals and this is the reason why they have conceded the least number of goals,” he said after the match.
A win would have thrust the Green Machine to the summit of the log standings, but Chitembwe reckons going to the top at this juncture is meaningless.
“It’s not about being at the top at the moment. Sensible football people will tell you 12 games and 36 points is a long way. Even if we had won it or Platinum had won, I don’t think any of the teams would have been declared champion after winning this game,” he said.
Zvishavane-based log leaders FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza was happy to return home with a point, while he also highlighted the gulf in class between yesterday’s opponents and the rest of the teams.
“For me, it’s a golden point. Unfortunately we couldn’t get the three points, but I’m happy with the point. That’s why I think we are the top two teams; they had their plan, we had ours. I’m not discrediting other clubs, but you can tell that we are fighting for something else,” he said in his post-match interview.
In terms of goal mouth action, the top-of-the-table clash disappointed, but it was a tactical masterpiece.
The visitors, who appeared well-drilled defensively, dominated the first half, with twinkle-toed winger Marshall Mudehwe giving the CAPS United defence problems.
It was no surprise when Mudehwe fashioned the match’s first shot on target after 12 minutes of play, but it was easily dealt with by Edmore Sibanda.
Moments later Mudehwe out-paced Roland Pfumbidzai on the right side of the field and flashed his effort a little too wide.
Meanwhile, the visitors’ goalkeeper Petros Mhari was a spectator throughout the half.
The best chance of the match fell to Tsipa six minutes after the restart following some good work by captain Moses Muchenje, who squared the ball to Tsipa, who, however, could only hit the crossbar from within the six yard box.
Tsipa had another chance a few minutes later, but he misdirected his header from inside the box.
With very few chances to talk about, the match eventually petered into a goalless draw.
CAPS United: E. Sibanda, H. Zvirekwi, S. Makatuka, R. Pfumbidzai, D. Dauda (J. Jangano 16′), D. Chafa, M. Muchenje, P. Bamusi, S. Nhivi, D. Chungwa, L. Tsipa
FC Platinum : P. Mhari, I. Nekati, G. Bello, E. Moyo, K. Moyo, W. Mhango, R. Chinyengetere, N. Masuku, C. Sibanda, M. Kawashu, M. Mudehwe (W. Sitima 76)
Castle Lager Premier Soccer League Results at a glance: CAPS United 0-0 FC Platinum, Chicken Inn 0-0 Chapungu, Bulawayo City 0-0 Hwange, ZPC Kariba 0-0 Ngezi Platinum
Today’s Fixtures: Triangle v Highlanders (Gibbo Stadium), How Mine v Harare City (Luveve Stadium), Border Strikers v Dynamos (Dulivhadzimu Stadium), Mutare City v Tsholotsho (Sakubva)