JUST as he has often done this season, talismanic midfielder Ronald “Rooney” Chitiyo was the toast of the day for champions Dynamos, weaving his magic to find a late winner that gave his side victory in a Premiership tie at Rufaro yesterday. Chitiyo, who has had his fair share of trouble with injuries, once again fashioned something special for Dynamos to hand the champions a crucial win that keeps alive their dream for a fifth straight title.
It needed the former Monomotapa man to conjure up something in a game that was staggering to a draw after How Mine appeared to have done enough to grind a point on the road. With the match staggering to a draw, which would have been the fair result on the balance of play, Chitiyo produced the defining moment of the game in the dying moments to give the gritty champions a priceless victory in the first minute of the three minutes of time added on.
The diminutive midfielder ran half the length of the pitch into acres of open space, received the ball and had the composure to take on a drawn out How Mine goalkeeper Munyaradzi Diya, beat him before sliding the ball into an empty net. Not even the close attention of the How Mine pair of Menard Mupera and Gilbert Banda could distract Chitiyo from finding his mark once he had dealt with the goalkeeper.
On a day when their bitter rivals CAPS United and Highlanders fell, Chitiyo’s late winner made Dynamos’ victory even sweeter for their fans. But it was not all plain sailing for Dynamos on a hot afternoon in the capital as the champions gave a largely subdued showing. Coach Tonderai Ndiraya was, however, pleased to get full points on a day on which they could have easily dropped two.
It will also certainly keep their confidence intact as they prepare for a tough road trip to in-form FC Platinum at Mandava. “We were a bit slow in everything. We didn’t get much into our groove but I am happy the boys kept on pushing and pushing, and like I have always said football is played for 90 minutes plus and in the end we got a result which we were looking for.
“I am satisfied with the result, but not with the performance. “But this is a good confidence booster and it will give us confidence going forward. We are facing a team which is on a roll FC Platinum, which is our next assignment and this game will give us a lot of confidence getting into that match,” he said. Ndiraya said the competition in the Premiership marathon was getting tougher.
“It is a very tough league to be quite honest. All the teams at the top are quite good so it is not going to be an easy stroll. We are going to try and up our game. Like I have said I was not quite impressed by our performance today but I am quite happy we got the result we wanted. “But it is a tough league. We got nine tough matches coming and we need to keep on pushing and focus on each and every game we play and make sure that we get maximum points.
“But the league is going to have a lot of twists and turns and I hope my boys would have the mental strength to last the distance. “Fatigue, today it was much better than the Tsholotsho game, but still you could see some of the guys were not themselves, some of them lacked, about three quarters of the team lacked some urgency and the whole team as a result lacked some urgency in play,” Ndiraya said.
How Mine coach Luke Masomere said it was unfortunate that they return to Bulawayo empty handed after having done everything to secure at least a point. “We really played very well today, it was a balanced game. It is very unfortunate that we lost in the dying minutes of the game, it happens, although I am not happy with how we lost the game.
“We lost concentration and we were punished just with about two minutes to go. But that is how football is played we will have to regroup and also come up with winning a mentality so that we at least win our next encounter. “We are almost there, it is not that we have lost today that we will lose again tomorrow, it is how football is being played sometimes get the negative result whilst looking for the positive. We will still achieve our objectives as a club,” said Masomere.
The match became livelier in the last 10 minutes as the hosts showed some urgency while their fans were beginning to show signs of agitation. Dynamos midfielder Carlos Rusere made some inroads into defence and his delivery after receiving a cross from the right was blocked by former Dynamos keeper Diya.
At the stroke of full time, Richard Kaondera, who had come in for Takesure Chinyama, broke loose but his effort was thwarted again by the keeper. But the champions quickly made amends and Chitiyo made the difference and in the process picked an unnecessary yellow card as he removed his shirt in celebration.
Dynamos: T. Mukuruva, G. Murwira, K. Nyakasaka, S. Linyama, E. Muroiwa, S. Alimenda, C. Rusere, R. Chitiyo, O. Mwerahari, T. Chinyama (R. Kaondera 72nd minute), R. Mutuma (K. Bulaji 90th minute).
How Mine: M. Diya, T. Kumbuyani, M. Gutu, G. Banda, N. Tachi, T. Masuku, B. Marere (M. Sibanda 90th minute), T. January, H. Masuku (T. Muparati 90th minute), K. Musharu.