HARARE – Dynamos remained an inch ahead of the chasing pack in a Castle Lager Premiership title race that will go down to the wire after grinding a draw against ZPC Kariba, who showed little respect for the log leaders yesterday.
On a scorching day with temperatures rising significantly in this resort town, ZPC Kariba coach Sunday Chidzambwa, who coached Dynamos coach Lloyd Mutasa in his yesteryear, did not show his protégé any mercy.
If anything, the ZPC Kariba coach, who is increasingly looking likely to sign a new contract with the team despite earlier indications to the contrary, will look back at yesterday’s match as one his charges should have won after controlling the greater part of the exchanges.
For Dynamos, it was another example in which they did not play any swashbuckling football but still held their own.
With yesterday’s results, the Glamour Boys remain top of the log with 57 points but second-placed Ngezi Platinum Stars are just a point behind following their win over Bulawayo City.
Mutasa feels the point they picked up yesterday is vital in the championship race with only six games to go before the season ends.
“I think it’s a point gained; we knew it was not going to be easy coming here and playing against a Sunday Chidzambwa-coached side. We conceded a goal that we should not have,” the DeMbare coach said.
“But we are happy with the point that we have gained. We had half chances but the last pass was not good enough.
“We had some free kicks that (Ocean) Mushure could have taken but I am happy for the youngster who stood up and also set up the goal.”
Chidzambwa saw the result as two points dropped.
“Good display from our boys we had a couple of chances but failed to put them away. I thought we controlled the game but missed glaring chances but it happens in football,” he said.
“If we can improve from here I think we will produce good results.”
Dynamos were lucky to survive an early onslaught that could have yielded an unassailable advantage as ZPC showed the title contenders no respect.
But an animated Chidzambwa, who hardly sat down the entire 90 minutes, saw his charges fail to account for that early dominance.
ZPC could have taken the first bite of the cherry with Munyaradzi Kunyarimwe’s sizzling shot from the edge of the box rattling the cross bar.
The rebound fell on the path of Daniel Chakupe whose shot soared way over the bar.
On-song attacking midfielder Talent Chamboko should have made it 1-0 after a defensive mix-up between DeMbare goalie Tonderayi Mateyaunga and right back Peace Makaha left him through on goal, but somehow fired wide with the goal at his mercy.
ZPC finally came good in the 25th minute when Never Tigere lurched onto Francisco Zekumbawire’s through ball and fired past a badly exposed Mateyaunga.
But as has become the case in recent matches, Dynamos needed a sniff at goal to pull themselves into the match. That chance came through the Harare giants’ first shot on target in the 34th minute with Denver Mukamba slotting home following some enterprising work by Cameroonian Christian Ntouba.
ZPC came from the breather determined to restore the lead but Chamboko’s effort was kept out by Mateyaunga before Raphael Manuvire missed from point blank range.
As the match wore on, ZPC defender Tawanda Nyamandwe almost turned the ball into his own net under pressure from Tawanda Macheke but was saved by the upright.
Ntouba began to assert himself with the ZPC defensive pairing of Nyamandwe and Sylvester Appiah having a torrid time to contain him.
There was to be more drama at the death with Dynamos goalkeepers’ coach Zondai Nyaungwa being sent to the terraces by referee Nomore Musundire.
Nyaungwa had hurled insults at Musundire remonstrating that the referee had failed to protect Ntouba, who had been tugged in the box.