HARARE – CAPS United set up a potentially explosive Mbada Diamonds Cup semifinal clash with How Mine following their 1-0 win over the Bulawayo side at the National Sports Stadium on Saturday.
The two teams meet early next month in the last four clash of the country’s richest knockout competition.
Leonard Fiyado got the solitary goal in the 75th minute as CAPS held on for three crucial points that move them to 42 points on the log.
Makepekepe fielded a different side from the one that lost 4-1 to Black Mambas last weekend with Hardlife Zvirekwi the only surviving member from that Morris Deport debacle.
CAPS dominated exchanges early in the match with enterprising Malawian import Gerald Phiri, playing in his first match since returning from trials in Poland, missing the target by a few inches from a free kick in the fifth minute.
Dominic Chungwa had a chance to open the scoring in the 29th minute but shot straight at How Mine goal keeper Ephraim Muzarura before he was denied again off an easy chance in the 43rd minute.
After the break, CAPS started the second half on a high note but it was a disappointing afternoon for Chungwa, who failed to tap in a sitter, directing his shot to Mazarura.
Munashe Chinembeza, CAPS United stand-in left back, almost scored an own goal as he directed a cross from substitute Timothy January towards his goal.
At the other end, it was Chungwa again, who worsted another glorious chance after creating space for himself in the box, only to direct his effort off target.
How Mine reacted by pulling out tiring Simba Sithole and introduced Quinani Sibanda. The move almost paid dividends but CAPS United goalkeeper Joram Muchambo denied Ocean Mpofu a scoring opportunity from close range.
Five minutes later, CAPS broke the deadlock through Fiyado, who connected with a fine header a cross from Phiri from the left leaving Mazarura a well beaten man.
Saul Chaminuka, CAPS United assistant coach said he was happy that the wholesale changes effected into the team.
“It was always our plan to change the players because we have a large pool of players to choose from and this means that when we approach the Mbada Diamonds Cup semis we will have a wider base to choose from,” said Chaminuka.
“We are aiming for a strong finish and I’m happy the boys did well with a polished performance today (yesterday).”
How Mine coach Philani Ncube said: “We played well in the second half, the performance from the boys was commendable, however, we felt the impact of the absence of Menard Mupera and Herbert Dick through injury. We will get our revenge in the knockout cup; it will be a different game altogether so we are not losing sleepover this loss.”