DYNAMOS’ prospects of retaining the Castle Lager Premiership title suffered a huge dent yesterday after the Harare giants failed to convert good scoring opportunities and had to endure a frustrating afternoon against Harare City at Rufaro.
The Harare giants were under pressure to win after their rivals in the title race Chicken Inn and FC Platinum had bagged important wins on Saturday to stretch the lead at the top.
But the defending champions paid dearly for their lack of precision in front of goal. DeMbare dropped crucial points to fall six points behind leaders Chicken Inn with only five games remaining.
And now it appears they are slowly falling away from the championship puzzle although their coach Tonderai Ndiraya remained defiant yesterday.
“We will keep fighting. We still have five games to go but, like I said in previous interviews, it’s not in our hands anymore. We would still want to continue pushing hard and see where we are at the end of the season.
“Now it’s for FC Platinum and Chicken Inn to lose. But we are not throwing in the towel yet. We will keep fighting, working until we finish all our games,” said Ndiraya.
Dynamos controlled most parts of the match yesterday but they were let down by their poor finishing.
Ndiraya charged that his forwards Roderick Mutuma and Takesure Chinyama were virtually “off-duty” after the duo led in squandering the opportunities the team created.
DeMbare could have celebrated early in the game when Ocean Mushure made a good run down the left flank soon after the referee Jimmy Makwanda had started the match but Chinyama completely missed his shot.
With City defenders still back-pedalling, fullback Blessing Moyo, who was lurking on the far side of the pitch, did not do justice as well as he blasted his effort over the bar.
An opportunity to make amends presented itself when Moyo found himself coming face to face with goalkeeper Maxwell Nyamupangedengu after Ronald Chitiyo had sent the ball over the City defenders in the 13th minute.
But with the angle narrowing, the Warriors defender made poor judgement when he decided to chip the ball over the goalkeeper who nonetheless had it all covered.
Nyamupangedengu deserved much of the credit for the point earned by his side yesterday as he kept his side in the game with a string of fine saves.
>Chinyama should have been angry with himself when he headed wide, unmarked in the 22nd minute from a fine cross by Moyo.
Nyamupangedengu then tipped Chitiyo’s dipping shot over the crossbar 29 minutes after the diminutive midfielder had weaved his way past a cluster of defenders just outside the box.
Then Mutuma escaped the offside trap two minutes later and connected with his head a high ball from the right but Nyamupangedengu was equal to the task.
“Our strikers were off today, they were off duty. I thought we controlled the game. Most parts of the game we were in control. We created lots of chances, plenty of them but we could not put them away.
“I think we dominated the whole match. The guys fought hard. They did everything to win the match but it wasn’t our day. I think we have one of the most reliable strike-forces in the country in Takesure and Roderick.
“They tried their best today, they got into scoring positions but here we are at the end of the day we have nothing. They did their best and that is football. We just have to move on,” said Ndiraya.
City goalkeeper Nyamupangedengu continued with his form in the second half but the Sunshine Boys survived a close shave in the 49th minute when Mushure’s free-kick crashed against the crossbar with the former Zimbabwe goalminder beaten.
Harare City looked dangerous upfront but their twin forwards Francesco Zekumbawira and Kudakwashe Kumwala did not get many clean balls in the final third.
Their coach Taurai Mangwiro decided to increase the tempo going forward by introducing more attack minded midfielders in Nathan Ziwini and Benson Maglas.
Twice Dynamos towering defender Sydney Linyama was forced to make good interceptions to block goal-bound shots from Kumwala and Martin Vengesai midway through the second half.
Then DeMbare goalkeeper Tatenda Mukuruva was forced to dive to his right to punch out Ziwini’s low shot before defender Crispen Dickson headed wide from a corner kick.
But DeMbare felt hard done when their appeals for a penalty were turned down when Arnold Chivheya appeared to have handled the ball inside the box under pressure from Chinyama but the referee ruled that he was outside the area and awarded a free-kick just outside the box.
Harare City assistant coach Mike Madzivanyika said the Sunshine Boys were happy with a point and are still pursuing the top four target.
“We are happy with a point away from home although we could have got all three points in the second half. We had a couple of chances. If we had managed to put them in, the scoreline could have been different,” said Madzivanyika.
Harare City remained sixth with 36 points while Dynamos maintained third position with 46 points in the bag. Chicken Inn lead the race with 52 points.
Dynamos: T. Mukuruva, B. Moyo, O. Mushure, E. Muroiwa, S. Linyama, W. Mukanga, G. Murwira, C. Rusere (M. Mambare, 81st minute), R. Chitiyo, T. Chinyama, R. Mutuma (R. Kawondera, 64th minute).
Harare City: M. Nyamupangedengu, T. Chimwemwe, A. Chiveya, T. Ndhlovu, C. Dickson, T. Samanja, J. Jam, W. Manondo (N. Ziwini, 52nd minute), M. Vengesai, F. Zekumbawira (O. Mukuradare, 85th minute), K. Kumwala (B. Maglas, 67th minute).