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CAPS United returned to the stadium that was their home last year, when they made a spirited challenge for the championship, and reaped immediate rewards with a hard-fought win against a battling, if not stylish, Triangle in this Castle Lager Premiership tie yesterday.

After two home games at Gwanzura could only produce draws for the Green Machine against ZPC Kariba and Buffaloes, CAPS United were back at the National Sports Stadium yesterday and could be considering a permanent switch to make the giant stadium their home again.

The truth is that this was by no means a vintage CAPS United performance and, for long periods of this match, they were poor, their midfield non-existent and long balls were aimlessly pumped upfront hoping that either Dominic Chungwa, a shade slower yesterday as he battled a groin injury, or new-boy Ishmail Thindwa would get the service and deliver something.

But it’s a mark of a good team that manages to find a way to win, even on their off day, and Triangle will make the trip back home wondering what else they needed to do to get the point, or three points, their industry and style probably deserved.

The Green Machine quickly seized the initiative with a sixth-minute goal when skipper Tapiwa Khumbuyani headed home, connecting a perfect cross by Gerald Phiri.

The visitors, whose game flourished both in style and substance after this goal, levelled terms just before the breather when former Blue Ribbon and Dynamos striker Tinei Chitora headed past goalkeeper Tafadzwa Dube.

For a ‘keeper of his standards, Dube knows that he committed the cardinal sin to leave his line and chase an angled cross and, then, miss the ball as the towering Chitora headed home on the blind side to give Triangle an equaliser they richly deserved.

However, CAPS United bagged maximum points in the 76th minute when a free-kick taken by Ronald Pfumbidzai on the right somehow curled beyond the reach of the ‘keeper, even though it was short of pace. Mangwiro was happy just to collect maximum points and said their return to the giant stadium played a part.

“I would want to think it did. It’s just that we came up against a team that has almost a similar type of play to ours but against some other teams I am sure we will be able to impose our game just like what we did on them in the second half,” said Mangwiro.

“We had dropped points at Gwanzura and we have switched to the National Sports Stadium and we got maximum points. If you are to look at our performance here last year, I thought we had turned it into a fortress.

“Let’s hope the good times will start rolling at the green side of the capital.

“The only team that we managed to beat at Gwanzura last year was Black Mambas but then we lost to Shabanie, we lost to Buffaloes and this year we couldn’t maximise on home aantage.

“Just a switch and we get maximum points, so we should stay at the National Sports Stadium.”

If the team switches back to the giant stadium they will have to share the ground with rivals Dynamos.

CAPS United, who lost 1-2 to FC Platinum in controversial fashion in their last game, appeared to have lost the plot yesterday after allowing Triangle to come back into the match when Chitora equalised in the 44th minute.

The visitors had pressed hard for the point, but they lost their defender Chastern Ngondonga, who was stretchered off the pitch and rushed to hospital, following a nasty clash with a CAPS United player on the hour mark.

Strangely, the referee let play continue after this clash of heads and CAPS United even struck the post from their move.

“I would want to think it was a game of two halves. They controlled the first half in which we did well in that we had gotten off to a flyer with that headed goal but thereafter we allowed them too much space to play in the midfield,” said Mangwiro.

“We couldn’t carry the lead as we conceded just before half-time. The good thing is that we re-organised and took control in the second half. With a little bit of luck it could have been three or four for us,” he said. Dominic Mukandi somehow fired his effort over the bar after forcing his way past the defence, with ‘keeper Ronald Mudimu the only opposition player.

The match also saw Malawian striker Thindwa making his debut, showing some touches but expectedly short on pace, before he was replaced towards the end by Zambian Madaliso Mwanza.

“Thindwa was not bad at all. Of course, expectations were high on him because a lot has been said about him,” said Mangwiro.

“But he gave a decent performance and I am happy for him and I would like to believe he will improve with more game time.”

Triangle coach Biggie Zuze was hurt by the defeat. “We didn’t play as well as we wanted. We relaxed a bit, but I think we created chances, especially in the first half,” said Zuze.

“We have to work hard again focusing on the need to keep possession. I always tell the guys not to lose possession, especially in our defending half. We matched CAPS United man-for-man, but that’s the name of the game. Congratulations to CAPS United.”

CAPS United . . . . . . . . (1)2

Triangle . . . . . . . . . . . . (1)1


CAPS United: T. Dube, T. Khumbuyani, D. Chipala, S. Makatuka, R. Pfumbidzai, T. Samanja, H. Zvirekwi (T. Mukanhairi 58th min), G. Phiri (D. Mukandi 46th min), M. Muchenje, I. Thindwa (M. Mwanza 88th min), D. Chungwa.

Triangle: R. Mudimu, P. Tonha, R. Maketo, C. Ngondonga (W. Mapfumo 59th min), J. Tigere, B. Juwayeyi (C. Denias 70th min), T. Chipunza, P. Manhanga, F. Kuswatuka, T. Chitora, W. Gondo.

Source : The Herald