ZPC Kariba threw spanners in the works for title-chasing Harare giants Dynamos after holding the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League log leaders to a draw at Nyamhunga Stadium in Kariba yesterday.
BY NUNURAI JENA
ZPC Kariba …… (1) 1
Dynamos …. (1) 1
Dynamos went into the match desperate for an away victory to remain clear of their title-chasing rivals Ngezi Platinum and FC Platinum as the title race heads for the home stretch.
The Harare giants, however, were only able to come back from Kariba with a point after salvaging a point against ZPC Kariba, who took the lead in the 25th minute through Never Tigere before Denver Mukamba found the equaliser eight minutes later.
The result meant Dynamos’ lead at the top of the log was reduced to one point by Ngezi Platinum, who grinded out a precious 1-0 away victory against Bulawayo City at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
Dynamos coach Lloyd Mutasa put on a brave face after the match and declared that he was happy to come out of the contest with a draw, adding that it was a case of one point gained than two dropped.
“It’s a point gained and we knew it wasn’t going to be easy, the young guys gave it a fight. We made a mistake and they punished us and our final pass was not good enough,” said Mutasa
The exciting match started with both teams sizing each other in the opening 15 minutes, but it was ZPC Kariba that took the initiative as they dictated the pace.
ZPC Kariba could have opened the scoresheet in the 14th minute, but Dynamos were saved by the woodwork when a Munyaradzi Kunyarimwe thunderbolt crashed against the crossbar, with goalkeeper Tonderai Mateyaunga a beaten man.
Daniel Chakupe also failed to capitalise from the rebound, which he skied over the bar.
Dynamos reacted quickly with a counter-attack, but Tichaona Chipunza’s shot on the run missed the far post.
Another ZPC Kariba chance went begging in the 20th minute when Talent Chamboko failed to punish Mateyaunga for a schoolboy blunder after he missed the ball and fluffed the chance.
ZPC Kariba continued to put pressure on the visitors and it eventually paid off when they surged ahead in the 25th minute through Never Tigere.
Tigere, who played the game of his life dominating the midfield battle all afternoon, kept his cool to slot home from close range after a build-up involving Chamboko and Francisco Zekumbawire.
Dynamos refused to give in and found the equaliser in the 34th minute against the run of play when Mukamba got to the end of a counter attack created by the Cameroonian import and the league’s joint top scorer Christian Epoupa, to ignite wild celebrations from the large contingent of travelling Dynamos supporters.
ZPC Kariba literally camped in Dynamos’ half during the remainder of the first half but they failed to convert their chances into goals.
Dynamos came out the much stronger side after the break and could have taken the lead in the 52nd minute, but Obey Mwerahari missed the target after Cleopas Kapupurika had weaved his way past a cluster of defenders before laying the ball in his path.
The electricity men had their chances in the second half, with Chamboko and substitutes Blessing Nyamuzihwa and Limited Chikafa fluffing the chances that came their way.
In a late desperate bid to find the winner, Dynamos coach Mutasa brought in the trio of Jimmy Konono, Tawanda Macheke and Quality Kangadze, but they failed to change the complexion of the game.
ZPC Kariba coach Sunday Chidzambwa was happy to come out of the contest with a point after his team’s home defeat against Ngezi Platinum.
“I thought our guys played very well, we could have won in the first half. It was a good game for us and I hope we continue with this kind of football,” said Chidzambwa.
ZPC Kariba: T Hove, B Zuberi, T Nyamandwe, S Appiah, M Kunyarimwe, N Tigere, T Munyanduri, T Chamboko (G Mangani, 87’), D Chakupe (B Nyamuzihwa, 68’),R Manuvire, F Zekumbawire (L Chikafa, 76’)
Dynamos: T Mateyaunga, P Makaha, R Matova, M Machazane, L Zvasiya, T Chipunza, O Mwerahari (J Konono, 60’), M Mambare (T Macheke, 64′), D Mukamba (Q Kangadze, 84’) C Epoupa, C Kapupurika.
Castle Lager Premier Soccer League results and fixtures:
Today: CAPS United v Triangle (National Sports Stadium), Highlanders v FC Platinum (Barbourfields Stadium)
Yesterday: ZPC Kariba 1-1 Dynamos, Bulawayo City 0-1 Ngezi Platinum Stars, Harare City 5-0 Bantu Rovers, Yadah FC 3-3 Black Rhinos, How Mine 0-1Hwange, Tsholotsho 0-3 Chapungu.
Friday: Shabanie Mine 1-0 Chicken Inn.