VETERAN striker Leonard Tsipa struck a brace as Caps United registered their biggest victory of the season in style and closed the gap between log leaders FC Platinum and them to just three points. FC Platinum, who are now on 43 points, drew 1-1 against Chicken Inn in Zvishavane yesterday. The National Sports stadium was virtually empty yesterday but those who did not come missed a lively encounter that saw Caps United demolish a hapless Mutare City Rovers with the 34-year-old Tsipa playing a starring role.
Tsipa scored his first goal and Caps United’s second of the afternoon in the 43rd minute when he tapped home a rebound after Mutare City goalkeeper Victor Twaliki had spilled a Joel Ngodzo grounder.
A fired up Tafadzwa Rusike had put the Green Machine ahead, after just nine minutes of play, when he intelligently tucked home a Phineas Bamusi cut back. Tsipa, who is now the joint top scorer with former Highlanders winger Bruce Kangwa on seven goals, completed his brace in the 65th minute in dramatic style.
Ngodzo spotted Twaliki off his line and delicately chipped the ball over the out of sorts keeper but the ball hit the underside of the bar and bounced on the goal line. Twaliki thought the ball had crossed the line and threw the ball resignedly for his teammates to restart play but referee Norman Matemera had not blown to signal a goal.
Tsipa ghosted from nowhere, robbed the stray ball and fired past Twaliki, who had a nightmarish return to the National Sports where he used to star for Makepekepe.
It was an insurance goal that Lloyd Chitembwe’s men needed badly as Mutare City had cut the lead to 2-1 when Agrippa Murimba rounded off Edmore Sibanda in the 62nd minute.
Substitute Simba Nhivi then completed the massacre four minutes from full time and again, Twaliki was at fault, failed to handle a harmless aerial ball and gifted the Caps United striker with a chance to open his season’s account.
Nhivi had come on for an injured Abbas Amidu in the 21st minute after United had lost another key player Rusike to a hamstring injury seven minutes earlier.
Caps United gaffer Lloyd Chitembwe once again dodged questions about the title but sounded gratified with the three points “picked in this defining stage of the season.”
“It has been a while since we scored more than two goals, the players are not machines, they are bound to make mistakes and we have to applaud them when they do well. “Like I have always said, it is important to pick up points at this defining stage of the season,” said Chitembwe.
It was a bad ending to the week for Mutare City who were also docked three points by the Premier Soccer League for using a suspended player – Kudakwashe Gurure – in their 1-1 draw against FC Platinum on August 13.
However, City coach Taku Shariwa put up a brave face in the post-match interview. “The manner we conceded goals was not good at all, but it happens in football and that is why it is called the beautiful game,” said Shariwa
“We will try again next week, losing is part of the game. We will survive, I am not a relegation coach.” Mutare have now shipped in 35 goals and they have the worst defence in the league while Caps United are now the highest scorers with 27 goals.
Makepekepe could have scored a dozen yesterday but they missed a glut of chances with Tsipa and Ngodzo, the chief culprits.
Caps United: E. Sibanda, H. Zvirekwi, R. Pfumbidzai, S. Makatuka, D. Dauda, D. Chafa, T. Rusike (M. Muchenje 28), P. Bamusi (A. Kambanje 81), J. Ngodzo, B. Amidu (S. Nhivi 21), L. Tsipa
Mutare City: V. Twaliki, M. Tapatapa, V. Madamombe, W. Mapfumo, M. Sako, S. Muchabaya, S. Hadebe (D. Duri 55), W. Sithole (M. Meleka 73), B. Majamanda (C. Masocha 47), A. Murimba, K. Gurure