By Tadious Manyepo
CAPS United … . (1) 2
Nichrut … … … (0) 1
CAPS UNITED winger Milton “Milito” Ncube’s best performance in a green shirt was what the Green Machine needed to finally remember how to score more than a single goal and bag the maximum points in this drama-filled Castle Lager Premier Soccer League tie at the National Sports Stadium yesterday.
Makepekepe were coming from a demoralising 0-2 defeat at the hands of Triangle and for a team which had posted just a single victory in six matches, scoring one goal in those, someone had to step to the plate. And Ncube did.
Wisdom Mutasa and substitute Hardlife Zvirekwi came to the end of Ncube’s two assists in either half while veteran Farai Vimisayi scored for Nichrut late on.
The Harare giants remained fifth on the log after taking their points tally to 39. They remained a massive 19 points behind leaders FC Platinum who mauled Mutare City 6-0 at Mandava on Saturday.
The Norman Mapeza-coached team are four points clear of second-placed Ngezi Platinum Stars who beat Highlanders 2-1 at Barbourfields yesterday.
Nichrut, on the other hand, remained stuck in the drop zone on 15th place having accumulated a paltry 24 points following yesterday’s defeat by CAPS United.
It took the roving Ncube, who bossed all afternoon, just a minute to weave his way past a thicket of Nichrut defenders before whipping in a perfect-height cross which Mutasa nodded home.
Ncube was a constant thorn in the flesh of the visitors and Makepekepe should have benefitted more from his left-foot had John Zhuwawu and Peter “Rio” Moyo been doing justice to his inch-perfect crosses.
The former How Mine full-back, who was ably supported by the hard running Dominic Mukandi in the middle of the park, then embarked on another spirited run down the flank before unleashing a hard-and-low cross which Zvirekwi tapped in for Makepekepe’s second goal of the afternoon.
Three minutes from time, Vimisayi lofted home his team’s face-saver from an acute angle but for a 10-man Nichrut, that was too late.
The captivating match, thanks to Ncube’s artistic exhibitions, was not short of drama and controversy though.
Nichrut coach John Nyikadzino was left a disappointed man and said his team lost because of other factors not their poor performance.
“Unfortunately, we were playing away from home,” said Nyikadzino.
“I am repeating we were playing away from home. We lost because we were away. I will not elaborate more on that but to just say we lost because we were away.
“As for Rodrick Mutuma’s red card, I will not comment, that’s a refereeing decision but I am saying we were away from home.
“Basically, as a coach, you become worried to be playing with one man down. I tried to talk to him as one of our chief strikers to calm his nerves a little bit.
“We will definitely survive relegation but I repeat today (yesterday) we played away from home.”
CAPS United gaffer Lloyd Chitembwe showered praises on his charges after the match.
“In terms of performance it was a bit different from the way we played our last match and in terms of attitude, today (yesterday) it was very positive. We also managed to get the two goals. We did more in the game and we really deserved to win the match.
“I am very happy with the way we played. Wisdom (Mutasa) gave us that leverage when he scored that first goal which bit of unsettled the opponents.
“Hardlife’s (Zvirekwi) second goal also gave us the confidence. Overall, the lads gave a decent performance,” Chitembwe said.
CAPS United: P. Chigumba, V. Musarurwa, D. Dauda (C.Kamhapa 46th minute), S. Makatuka, M. Mwanjale, J. Ngodzo, P. Moyo (H. Zvirekwi, 46th minute), S. Mukandi, M. Ncube, W. Mutasa, J. Zhuwawu (M. Katsvairo, 48th minute)
Nichrut: S. Chakwana, E. Mwinga, T. Hapazari (A. Nhongo 75th minute) , D. Boriwondo, T. Ndhlovu, C. Rusere, S. Sithole (F. Vimisayi, 67th minute), A. Maliselo, R. Mutuma, G. Bhero(A. Kanchwachwa, 74th minute) , F. Bushiri.