By Sports Reporter
CAPS United took a massive leap in their bid to clinch the 2019 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League title after securing a crucial 1-0 victory over fierce rivals, Dynamos in the big Harare derby at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.
Striker Newman Sianchali, who started ahead of suspended club top scorer John Zhuwawo, scored the priceless goal in first half to allow the Green Machine to keep their top spot and maintain a precarious two-point lead.
The Makepekepe victory, which ended Dynamos’s 19-match unbeaten run, took their season tally to 58 points from 32 matches, two points ahead of second placed FC Platinum with just two matches remaining.
FC Platinum remain in the title race after edging Chapungu 1-0 in the Midlands derby at Ascot Stadium, courtesy of Never Tigere’s solitary goal after 17 minutes.
Chicken Inn, who suffered a morale shattering 3-1 defeat against relegation threatened Bulawayo Chiefs on Saturday, are third on 53 points from the same number of games.
All the focus was however on the much-anticipated big Harare derby in which CAPS United were not just under intense pressure to beat their closest rivals and maintain bragging rights but were also desperate to keep their lead at the top of the standings.
CAPS got off to a perfect start as they piled on the pressure and created a few anxious moments for the Dynamos defence, although they did not test Simba Chinani, in goals for DeMbare.
With Dynamos taking a cautious approach, CAPS created the best opportunities with midfielder Joel Ngodzo, Sianchali and Phineas Bamusi all coming close to breaking the deadlock.
Dynamos only started threatening towards halftime and just like their hosts, they lacked the killer instinct upfront as they also barely tested the CAPS United defence.
Sianchali, whose brace after rising from the bench propelled CAPS to a victory against ZPC Kariba recently, eventually broke the deadlock in the 40th minute when he headed home a brilliant cross from Valentine Musarurwa.
Youthful striker Nigel Katawa almost immediately found the equaliser for Dynamos but was denied by returning CAPS goalminder Tonderayi Mateyaunga to ensure the hosts went into the halftime break firmly in control.
After the break, CAPS almost doubled their lead after forcing Chinani to make some good saves to deny Blessing Sarupinda and Bamusi.
Mateyaunga almost gifted Dynamos the equaliser in the 67th minute after spilling Evans Katema’s shot but picked himself up to deny substitute Edward Sadomba from the resultant rebound.
Makepekepe held on to secure a precious victory against their city rivals which put them on the cusp of their second PSL title inside three years.
Meanwhile, in other matches played on Sunday, FC Platinum kept up the pressure on CAPS United with a 1-0 victory over Chapungu while Prince Dube continued with his good form after his first half goal inspired Highlanders to a 1-0 win over Manica Diamonds at Barbourfields Stadium.
Results at a glance
Sunday: CAPS United 1-0 Dynamos, Hwange 2-3 Herentals, Triangle United 3-0 ZPC Kariba, Highlanders 1-0 Manica Diamonds, Chapungu 0-1 FC Platinum. Mushowani Stars 0-3 TelOne
Saturday: Harare City 0-2, Bulawayo Chiefs 3-1 Chicken Inn