The Sunday Mail
Makomborero Mutimukulu in GWERU
IT rained goals and missiles as Caps United came from behind to edge Nichrut in this drama-filled Castle Lager Premier Soccer League tie at Ascot yesterday.
Referee Artwell Mazire was forced to stop the match soon after hat- trick hero Simba Nhivi had given Makepekepe a 4-3 lead with nine minutes to play.
Rival fans exchanged missiles in the stands and police had to fire teargas to quell the situation.
Yet before the missiles rained there were goals galore – seven of them.
Nichrut had the better start, surging into the lead after just 13 minutes.
Tatenda Hapadzai tapped in a Farai Vimisayi corner kick, as Caps United defenders appeared still stuck in Harare.
Nhivi restored parity seven minutes later, poking the ball beyond Stanley Chakwanya, the home side’s goalie.
Unfortunately, Gerald Bhero thrust Nichrut back into the lead three minutes before the breather with a booming shot from about 35 metres out.
There was nothing Makepekepe goalie Prosper Chigumba, or any other goalkeeper in this world, could have done about that one.
Yes, it was that kind of goal!
Five minutes after the restart Nichrut were celebrating again, after Shepherd Sithole took advantage of some lax defending by the visitors.
Nhivi then halved the deficit on the 57 minute mark, with a low cross that somehow managed to bamboozle Chapwanya.
Caps United then laid siege on the Nichrut goal and on 75 minutes, the home side cracked.
Bruce Gurura bundled the ball into his own net after Valentine Musarurwa’s corner kick caught the Premiership debutantes flat-footed.
Nhivi then thrust Makepekepe into the lead on 81 minutes when his long-range shot nestled into the bottom right corner.
That is when all hell broke loose.
Play had to be stopped after opposing fans engaged in a war of stones.
Caps United coach Lloyd Chitembwe chose not to dwell on his team’s generosity at the back.
“We had a slow start and conceded goals we should have avoided but I would rather commend my boys for a great fight-back,” he said.
“Coming back from 3-1 down is never easy but we managed to do that, thanks to some amazing resilience.
“As a team we believe in Nhivi’s abilities and today he showed his worth.”
Opposing coach John Nyikadzino conceded that his brave hearts fell to a better side.
“Caps are a good side, they wanted it better than us and it showed in the end.
“We played well and then went to sleep, at 3-1 we ought to have shut the game off but it wasn’t to be,” said Nyikadzino.
Nichrut: S. Chakwanya, G. Bhero, N. Moyo, B. Gurure, A. Nhongo, F. Vimisayi, S. Sithole, F. Bushiri, T. Hapazari, V. Moyo, E. Mwinga.
Caps United: P. Chigumba, J. Jangano (M. Ncube, 62mins), V. Musarurwa, D. Dauda, S. Makatuka, C. Kamhapa, D. Mukamba (N. Guyo, 62mins; (C. Munzambwa, 84mins), S. Nhivi, J. Ngodzo, J. Zhuwawu, B. Muzondiwa.