LIOLI (LESOTHO). . . . . . . . 0
CAPS UNITED (ZIM) . . . . . . .0
THE country’s representative in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League, CAPS United, could have made life difficult for themselves in their quest to qualify for the first round of the competition, after they were held to a goalless draw by Lesotho champions Lioli in a preliminary round first leg match at Setsoto Stadium in Maseru yesterday.
BY HENRY MHARA IN MASERU, LESOTHO
The Green Machine host the return leg at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday, where only a win would see them through to the next stage.
A repeat of yesterday’s result in Harare will force the match into a penalty shootout, while a scoring stalemate would only benefit Lioli.
While a number of the team’s supporters — some who had travelled all the way from Harare — could have been disappointed by the scoreline, coach Lloyd Chitembwe said he was left satisfied.
He said this was the ideal result they had planned for.
“I’m happy with the result and the perfomance from the boys. This [result] is what we wanted and we will finish the job in Harare. We knew what we wanted and we executed the plan well. The ball is now in our court and I’m confident we will go through,” Chitembwe said.
He addressed the press conference in Shona, in response to the Lioli coach who had also used his local language.
CAPS United were forced to make a change to their first 11, with Joel Ngodzo dropping from the squad after some discrepancies on his documentation.
The date of birth on his passport was different from that on the players’ list the club submitted to CAF.
Kabby Kamhapa was the beneficiary of the blip, while Ronald Chitiyo was named in the first 11 for his first competitive match for the Harare giants since joining the team some few months ago.
Kudzanai Nyamufukudza, who had been named on the substitute bench, had the same problem as Ngodzo, and ended up also watching the match from the terraces.
“These things happen in football and while I’m disappointed because I wanted to field my best possible squad, I’m happy at the same time, as this shows that we have capable replacements,” Chitembwe said.
Despite the forced changes, it was the visitors who started the match on the front foot, as they controlled possession against the hosts, who looked content with sitting back and soaking pressure.
However, for all their possession, they didn’t really trouble Lioli in the opening minutes.
So in control was CAPS United, that it took their goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda almost 20 minutes to get his first touch of the ball.
United would get their first real chance in the 11th minute when left-back Ronald Pfumbidzai created some space for himself just outside the box, but his shot was well saved by Lioli keeper Liteboho Mokhehle.
Moments later, Mokhehle was forced into another smart save off a Dominic Chungwa shot after some good interchanges with Chitiyo, as CAPS desperately searched for the away goal.
As they threw numbers upfront, they were almost caught on a counter when defender Dennis Dauda needlessly gave away possession in his half, but Pfumbidzai recovered just in time to block Tumelo Khutlang’s shot.
On 23 minutes, CAPS United should have scored when Pfumbidzai galloped forward and put in a good cross which Chungwa somehow missed.
But it was Amidu who squandered the best opportunity of the first half when he got to the end of a Chitiyo pass on the blind side and instead chose to go for power when placing the ball was a better option.
Sibanda then kept his side in the contest with a super save seconds from the half time whistle when he denied Kuthlang from a one-on-one situation after Justice Jangano had been caught in possession in a dangerous area.
His effort was blocked by a defender.
Chitembwe’s boys almost got the breakthrough immediately after the restart, but Amidu’s shot from close range rattled the upright.
At the other end, the dangerous Khutlang tested Sibanda as the game had opened up a bit.
CAPS United soon regained control, but could not make it count. Both teams created decent chances late into the match, but could not be separated, leaving the contest evenly poised.
Lioli: L Mokhehle, M Moremoholo, T Koetle, K Tseka, M Mofolo (J Kamela, 55’), B Moletsane (O Modirwa, 90’), S Ramoseka, T Seturumane, T Lekhooana (P Maba, 73’), B Sello, T Khutlang
CAPS United: E Sibanda, V Musarurwa, R Pfumbidzai, J Jangano, D Dauda, D Chafa, K Kamhapa, A Amidu, R Chitiyo (T Rusike, 85’), P Bhamusi (S Sithole, 63’), D Chungwa