CAPS win at last, City hold Highlanders
Veteran forward Dominic Chungwa scored a priceless second-half goal as troubled CAPS United beat ZPC Kariba 1-0 to give their fans some desperately needed respite.
The Zimbabwe Premier League defending champions -- turned top-flight whipping boys -- had gone into Matchday 20 on the back of a five-match winless streak to leave coach Lloyd Chitembwe running out of excuses.
There would have been no better time for a rebound than against a Kariba team who themselves have been tumbling down the log table at breakneck speed. The Mashonaland West side have just one win in eight matches, and barely resemble the team that would occasionally pop up at the top end of the log table not so long ago.
To their credit, Kariba tried their best to make a fight of it on Sunday, especially after Chungwa's 62nd minute volley had handed CAPS the initiative.
Yet there would be no stopping the hosts from registering their fourth win of the campaign, although the three points collected did little to alter things in the standings, as the Green Machine remain stranded deep in relegation territory with 17 points from 14 matches.
CAPS still have six games in hand after accumulating a fixture backlog due to their CAF Champions League commitments early on.
Meanwhile, it was not such a happy afternoon for Bulawayo giants Highlanders, who slipped further behind the leading pack following a lifeless display in their goalless draw at home to 12th placed Harare City.
The draw left Highlanders in sixth place with 32 points, eight behind log leaders Ngezi Platinum.
Coach Erol Akbay, who announced his decision to desert the financially troubled club at the expiry of his contract later this year, is struggling to inspire the team to any form of consistency and the mid-season departure strikers Prince Dube and Rodrick Mutuma for greener pastures has worsened the situation.
Zimbabwe left back Ocean Mushure scored a stunning first-half goal as Dynamos battled to a 1-0 win over Black Rhinos on Saturday.
Rhinos had made the trip to Rufaro Stadium determined to avoid a third consecutive defeat, only to find themselves undone by a brilliant goal from Mushure, who netted direct from the corner flag ten minutes before the break.
The army side put up a brave fight in the second-half but an equaliser just would not come and coach Stix Mutizwa will have to wait another day to halt a catastrophic run of form that has seen his team take just one win in the last six matches.
Dynamos, on the other hand, will be relieved to have collected all three points without necessarily producing their best.
The win saw the former champions leapfrog FC Platinum into third place with 36 points, the same as the Zvishavane-based outfit. The two sides are also tied on goal difference, with Dynamos on top by virtue of having scored more goals.
In Bulawayo, Ngezi Platinum downed How Mine 2-1 to shoot back to the top of the standings with defender Patson Jaure and on-fire midfielder Terence Dzvukamanja scoring either side of the break.
A Kuda Musharu effort late on proved mere consolation and How Mine remain in fifth place, five points shy of the summit.
Twenty-three-year-old Dzvukamanja, whose momentum was disrupted by injuries in his debut top-flight season last year, is slowly establishing himself as one of the best players in the league. His strike against How Mine was his fourth in three matches, and eighth overall.
Saturday's win enabled Ngezi to reclaim top spot ahead of Chicken Inn, who could only manage a 1-1 draw away to FC Platinum.
Passmore Bernard had thrust the visitors into the lead just before the break but a spirited fight-back after the break from Platinum was rewarded with a Charles Sibanda equaliser 10 minutes before the end.
Both teams had gone into the encounter on the back of three consecutive wins, and although Chicken Inn coach Rahman Gumbo would have been disappointed to see his team surrender the lead late on, the result is further testimony of their determination to sustain the challenge for a title they won style in 2015.
Black Rhinos 0 Dynamos 1, FC Platinum 1 Chicken Inn 1, Yadah 0 Tsholostho 0, Bulawayo City 3 Shabanie Mine 0, How Mine 1 Ngezi Platinum 2.
Highlanders 0 Harare City 0, CAPS United 1 ZPC Kariba 0, Hwange 2 Chapungu 0, Triangle United 1 Bantu Rovers 0.