HARARE – Ten-man Harare City yesterday held CAPS United to a goalless draw in a Castle Lager Premier League match that never rose to expected heights.
The two teams, who drew 1-1 in the reverse fixture, appeared determined to stop each other from playing and needlessly employed the long ball much to the frustration of the fans.
CAPS United coach Taurai Mangwiro admitted his midfielders failed to rise to the occasion.
“Our midfield was not that creative today,” said Mangwiro.
“We were using the high ball a lot. We did not create any meaningful chances for (Leonard) Fiyado and (Nqobile) Mpala.
“Playing a team that is a man down is never easy because they were putting a lot of bodies behind the ball. We became too desperate at times but we have to give credit to City … City came out fighting even when they were a man down.”
City coach Bigboy Mawiwi rued his team’s misfortune which resulted in his team incurring a red card and hitting the cross bar from a free kick.
“We were well-prepared for this game. We were very unlucky especially the free kick and the red card (Trymore Nyamadzawo was given a straight red-card in the 50th minute for a foul on Tapiwa Kumbuyani).
I thought the expulsion was too harsh,” Mawiwi said.
“It is a good result. The youngsters are improving all the time. Remember this our first season (in the Premiership).”
Though yesterday’s match was generally devoid of thrills, it was not short of goal scoring opportunities.
Just 13 minutes into the match, giant United forward Nqobile Mpala spurned the game’s clearest chance.
The former Highlanders and Pretoria University striker was set up by Fiyado inside the box but he shot over.
Moments later, City’s winger Silas Songani beat United left back Arnold Chiveya but his well-struck effort narrowly missed the target.
Just before the halftime break Mpala missed yet another quality chance when he failed to connect a beautiful Fiyado cross inside the box.
City, who lost midfielder Trymore Nyamadzawo in the 50th minute, almost responded to the setback in spectacular fashion only for Songani’s free kick to ricochet off the cross bar with CAPS keeper Itayi Chiwara well-beaten.
When Mpala’s header off a Kumbuyani cross was saved by City goalie Maxwell Nyamupangedengu, the fans became resigned to the certainty of a stalemate.