MUTARE – CAPS United inflicted Buffaloes their first home defeat of the season at Sakubva Stadium on Sunday to keep their slim hopes of winning the Castle Premiership title alive.
Playing a muddy and soaked pitch, United got the all-important goal in the 67th minute when midfielder Moses Muchenje beat an offside trap to fire past Blessing Mandimutsira.
With the win, Makepekepe remained in fifth place on the log with 45 points and now trail log leaders Dynamos by four points with three games to go before the season ends.
For Buffaloes, the defeat means the Mutare-based soldiers are still not yet safe from relegation as they are just four points above the relegation zone in 11th place.
Yesterday’s match was also the first time that Saul Chaminuka, who is the United assistant coach, was coming up against his former side.
Chaminuka was sacked by Buffaloes earlier this season and he was pleased with the victory by his new side.
“There is one man who got six points and that’s me,” an upbeat Chaminuka said since he was in charge of Buffaloes when they beat United 1-0 in the reverse fixture at Gwanzura Stadium.
“It was a good performance and I am glad the boys managed to adapt to this wet pitch as we have been training under dry conditions.”
Buffaloes coach Timothy Masachi was disappointed with the failure by his side to convert the numerous scoring chances they created against the Green Machine.
“We played well but missed our chances. The problem is we are not scoring,” Masachi said.
Buffaloes had put in a good defensive display in the first half restricting United at arm’s length with high defensive line.
The pitch conditions also made life difficult for the CAPS players as they struggled to get a firm grip on the match.
Rahman Kutsanzira came close to finding the opener for United when his shot was punched back into play by Mandimutsira in the 32nd minute.
CAPS also felt they were denied a penalty when Hardlife Zvirekwi was brought down inside the box but the referee waved play on.
After the break, United finally got it right when Muchenje raced from a deep midfield position to get onto a long before beating the Buffaloes keeper.
The home side’s defence was guilty of ball watching as they waited for the linesman flag that never arrived after a failed offside trap.
After the goal, United increased the tempo as they lay siege on Buffaloes goal but were again denied by a combination of last ditch defending and some good saves from Mandimutsira.
At the other end, Buffaloes came close with an equaliser in the 80th minute after a dipping shot from substitute Phillip Thembani was blocked for a corner.
Five minute later, Tawanda Nyamandwe could have increased the United lead but took too long to shoot allowing Temba Ndlovu to clear the danger.