CAPS United shot to the top of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League Wednesday after a comfortable 2-0 victory over a battling Tsholotsho at the National Sports Stadium after log leaders FC Platinum were shocked 2-1 by Hwange in another match at the Colliery.
The Green Machine now have 29 points two ahead of FC Platinum.
The Harare giants earned their place at the top with a polished performance spiced by the heroics of goalkeeper Edmore “Zikeeper” Sibanda who denied the visitors at the death with several classy stops in his second home coming debut since his ban from the game for his alleged involvement in the Asiagate scandal.
Coach Lloyd Chitembwe elected to field him ahead of Jorum Muchambo and he must have been left satisfied after he kept a clean sheet in his debut.
Joel Ngodzo who has shone like a beacon in the middle of the park with his passing range since the start of the campaign was also rested with Devon Chafa entrusted to shield the defence.
And the Green Machine still got the job done with veteran striker Leonard Tsipa winning and converting a penalty three minutes into the match after his goal bound headed ball was handled by defender Thandolwenkosi Ncube.
The silence that engulfed the stadium as Tsipa stepped up to take the penalty was defeaning. The Caps United fans held their breath. And he fooled goalkeeper Nickel Marichi by dropping his shoulders before coolly placing into the nets, no fuss, no panic job done.
Caps United were 1-0 up and they began to launch wave after wave of attack. But the visitors never really showed respect for their more illustrious opponents and came close on 29 minutes but Mostafa Ponyera was denied from five yards by Sibanda with a tip over.
Five minutes later Tafadzwa Rusike had the opportunity to double the lead but his effort from a cross by Phineas Bhamusi sailed over the bar.
Moments later Tsipa missed a headed opportunity following a cross by Phineas Bhamusi. After thirty-three minutes, Dylan Chivandire blasted his effort over the bar following a wonderful delivery by William Stima.
On thirty-four minutes, Moses Muchenje doubled the lead with a cool finish after he was set up by Simba Nhivi following a good cross from Rusike.
At the start of the second half, Tsholotsho coach Lizwe Sweswe threw caution to the wind as he made three substitutions as he sought to recover.Advertisement
Anyanda Ncube, Nicholas Mudandishe and Collins Duwa came in for Rodrick Mufudza, Olient Ncube and Bruno Madanhire respectively.
Although they couldn’t recover they gave everything towards the end. Had it not been for the brilliance of goalkeeper Sibanda Tsholotsho could have found a consolation goal.
Caps United assistant coach Tostao Kwashi was pleased with the performance which must have boosted their confidence ahead of their next trip to Highlanders.
“First half, good performance for Caps United. We played good football and created a lot of chances but Tsholotsho came to the party as well in the second half.,” he said.
“They deserve credit, they played good football but generally we played well and deserved to win. We got the three points but we still not satisfied.
“We are still humble, 16 games left we still have a long way to go. In football you can’t win all the games you win some and lose some and we are happy with the win.
“It was a marvellous performance by Sibanda. He came to the party as well with some great saves. It has been a long time for him.”
Tsholotsho assistant coach Xolisani Sibanda accepted defeat.
“It was one of those games where we had a bad start. Bad start trying to come back but I think it was a matter of being late and playing an experienced side like Caps United chances of you coming back when you have started badly are too slim.
“Not happy with the team? That is a fact but I think, with the players that we have, it’s a matter of time. The problem we are having as a team is failing to score,” said Sibanda.