The debate about Dynamos' capacity to win the Castle Lager Premiership title exploded yet again yesterday after the Glamour Boys wilted under pressure at the National Sports Stadium with one of their worst performances this season as they dropped two points against a resilient Tsholotsho. They surrendered pole position to FC Platinum who beat cross-town rivals Shabanie Mine in the Zvishavane Derby yesterday earning four points better than the serial champions in the teams' last two league matches. Even the DeMbare fans appeared to sense this was going to be a bad day for them as the majority of the team's fans stayed away from the giant stadium and Tsholotsho reaped huge benefits as they never felt intimidated at all.
DeMbare yesterday thought they had got off to a perfect start when Tichaona Chipunza scored a beautiful long range effort, his first for the Glamour Boys, with just a quarter of an hour played. However, the visitors took advantage of a defensive mix-up inside the DeMbare box and equalised almost instantly courtesy of Lucky Nyathi. And the visitors have every reason to feel aggrieved after a late strike was controversially ruled out for offside.
"We played, we scored, but we gave them a goal that we thought they didn't deserve, hence we lost two points," said DeMbare coach Lloyd Mutasa. "Such is football, at times you learn the hard way. Everything comes back to the coach, but I think we need to pull up our socks and think about the next encounter. "I even said it (to the players) before the match that probably our advantage for now is we don't have to look at teams that we play. We just have to give it a go, but if you look at how we then responded today it was like we have won the match before we even played it.
"The body language was not good enough, something that is very worrisome at this stage. We accept the result and we move on." DeMbare travel to Ngezi Platinum Stars for their next game and then play Chapungu, Bulawayo City, Bantu Rovers and Chicken Inn. Chipunza gave them the breakthrough when he received the ball from Marshal Machazane just outside the centre circle, picked his spot and unleashed a low shot that beat goalkeeper Chang Mariyoni from distance into the bottom corner.
But the celebrations barely lasted a minute. Nyathi punished DeMbare after goalkeeper Tonderai Mateyaunga failed to communicate with his defenders Marshal Machazane and Lincoln Zvasiya inside the box. The talented forward had all the time and space to slot the ball home for the equaliser. Still DeMbare had more clear chances in the first half with Denver Mukamba, Ocean Mushure and Masimba Mambare all coming close, but they will always wonder why Christian Epoupa Ntouba chose to try and take on the defence, rather than pass the ball to Mukamba, deep in the first half.
Mutasa's decision to pull out Mukamba sucked life out of his men as his replacement failed to deliver while Mambare also appears lost these days as he struggles to find a way out of the darkness that has engulfed him. As DeMbare piled most of their men forward, referee Lazarus Dirwai made a questionable call when he overruled what could have been a last-minute sucker punch from Thabani Moyo for offside.
"I thought there was a defender behind and Thabani just took advantage of a deflected loose ball and he poked it in and I thought it was a goal, but the referees are in charge and sometimes we give them the benefit of the doubt," said Tsholotsho coach Darlington Dodo. "You see, we are in a precarious position and these three points were going to take us a long way where we are trying to go.
"We will keep fighting. We were trying to play good football and we were also trying to play to win, but it's unfortunate that today we were not clinical in front of goal. Had we done that it could have been a good victory for us," said Dodo.
Dynamos: T. Mateyaunga, P. Makaha, R. Matova, M. Machazane, L. Zvasiya, T. Chipunza, G. Mukambi (J. Konono, 79th min), O. Mushure, M. Mambare (T. Macheke, 54th min), D. Mukamba (E. Mandiranga, 62nd min), J. Epoupa
Tsholotsho: C. Mariyon, T. Nyabinde, B. Mandanhire, X. Ndlovu, M. Phiri, T. Tavengwa, S. Mhlanga, M. Mushonga (T. Moyo, 88th min), A. Ncube (C. Nkomo, 67th min), L. Nyathi, N. Mpala (N. Gama, 89th min).
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