Chibuku Cup: CAPS, Dynamos & Highlanders advance
It was a productive weekend for Zimbabwe's beleaguered traditional giants, with all three of CAPS United, Highlanders and Dynamos progressing to the quarter-finals of the Chibuku Super Cup.
There was, however, no joy for title rivals Ngezi and FC Platinum, who were both dumped out of the tournament by Herentals and Chapungu respectively. Triangle, Harare City and Nichrut complete the last eight cast.
CAPS needed a penalty shootout to see off the spirited challenge of ZPC Kariba on Sunday, 24 hours after rivals Dynamos had edged Bulawayo Chiefs 1-0.
Dynamos went into their tie at Rufaro Stadium under immense pressure to deliver, and their winning goal arrived on the hour-mark through forward Tawanda Macheka.
The 22-year-old has seen limited action during his team's troubled league campaign, but he rose highest to head home a Phakamani Dube cross and hand the Harare giants a victory which will surely ease the pressure on coach Lloyd Mutasa.
Mutasa's counterpart Lloyd Chitembwe is not in any better situation at cross-town rivals CAPS, who eventually dismissed visiting ZPC Kariba 5-4 on penalties after a lifeless 0-0 stalemate in regulation time.
CAPS scored all their five spot-kicks to punish Kariba, who ironically had been employing delaying tactics during the game to force the tie to penalties.
Elsewhere in Bulawayo, Highlanders secured a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Yadah to reach the last eight.
Bosso looked the better side early on, but failed to take their chances before falling behind three minutes after the break as veteran striker Simba Sithole thrust the visitors ahead with a close-range finish.
Highlanders upped the tempo following the introduction of Godfrey Makaruse and, especially, striker Newman Sianchali, who found the winner six minutes from time after Bongeni Ndlovu had weighed in with a 70th-minute leveller.
Earlier on Saturday, Platinum were bundled out of the tournament by Chapungu 5-4 on penalties after the match had ended in a 2-2 draw at Mandava.
Chapungu, who also knocked Platinum out of the Chibuku Cup last year, were first on target through veteran Osborne Mukuradare after just 12 minutes, only for defender Kelvin Moyo to equalise 10 minutes later.
Platinum fans thought their team had wrapped up the tie after Mkhokheli Dube put them ahead just before the hour-mark, but Edmore Muzanenhamo hit back for Chapungu almost immediately to send the tie into penalties, from which the visitors emerged 5-4 victors.
Ngezi suffered the same fate at home to Herentals, for whom Blessing Majarira equalised from the spot just before the half-hour mark after Donald Teguru had given the hosts a third-minute lead.
Tonderai Ndiraya's men went on to miss a host of opportunities as Herentals held out for the lottery of a penalty shootout from which they emerged 4-3 winners.