HARARE – CAPS United warmed up to their big weekend clash against Castle Premiership log leaders Highlanders by beating struggling Hwange 2-0 at the National Sports Stadium Wednesday.
Makepekepe remain in sixth place on the log with 23 points, six behind Bosso, who lost 1-0 to city rivals Chicken Inn Wednesday.
Following the defeat, Hwange remained in 12th place with 14 points and are now just one point above the relegation zone.
First half goals from midfielders David Rediyoni and Moses Muchenje compounded the lowly coalminers to their sixth defeat of the season.
United coach Taurai Mangwiro was pleased with the way his side capitalised on Hwange’s slip-ups in the opening period.
“We had to take the game to the opponents in the first half and once we had the result we had to protect it,” said Mangwiro.
“Even in the second half, we had a couple of decent opportunities but the workman-like performance in the first half gave us the result today.”
Mangwiro is now looking ahead to Saturday’s big game against Bosso.
“We needed to do well against Hwange going into the weekend match against Highlanders,” he said.
“I’m sure what we got today will serve us well going into our next fixture.”
Mangwiro believes the two-week break gave him time to work on a number of new combinations after he lost precious time during the pre-season due to his legal battle over his involvement in the Asiagate match-fixing scandal.
After a pretty lethargic first half, Rediyoni gave the home side the lead in the 31st minute when he reacted first to a loose ball inside the box, blasting his effort past Hwange goalkeeper Timothy Sibanda.
The coalminers defence was guilty of ball watching as Tawanda Nyamandwe failed to connect with Muchenje’s cross from the right.
With the entire Hwange defence scrambling as the ball bubbled inside the box, Rediyoni was the first to react.
It did not take long for Makepekepe to increase their lead as the coalminers’ defence once again went to sleep three minutes later.
Makepekepe midfielder Tendai Samanja swung in a harmless looking ball from the right but Hwange’s defence miscalculated an offside trap.
Muchenje, who started his run from deep, easily broke the shambolic offside trap to head past an exposed Sibanda.
“We did not play well in the first but otherwise we improved in the last 45 minutes,” Hwange coach Nation Dube said after the match.
“We really exerted too much pressure on ourselves because those two soft goals really made the difference. We were so rusty in that first half.”
Before scoring those two goals inside three minutes, Makepekepe had done little to trouble Sibanda’s goal.
Nyamandwe came close with a header and volley in the first minute but after that, United seemed to struggle to find an opening.
In the second half, Hwange were the better team but failed to turn their dominance into scoring opportunities.
CAPS United: Tafadzwa Dube, Tapiwa Kumbuyani, Ronald Pfumbidzayi, Tawanda Munyanduri, Arnold Chivheya, Tendai Samanja, David Rediyoni (Dominic Mukandi, 84min), Moses Muchenje, Rahman Kutsanzira (Gift Phiri, 46min), Dominic Chungwa, Tawanda Nyamandwe (Leonard Fiyado, 63min).
Hwange: Timothy Sibanda, Maqahwe Mpofu, Munyaradzi Mungadze, Gerald Ndlovu, David Boriwondo, Andrew Chuma, Oscar Lunga (Isaac Masame 51min), Tafara Chese, Nkosana Siwela, Evans Rusike, Farayi Vimisayi (Gilbert Zulu, 51min).