Augustine Hwata Sports Reporter
Dynamos .....................….(0) 1
Esperance ...................….(0) 1
(Dynamos lose 1-7 on aggregate)
DENVER MUKAMBA became the first Dynamos player to score a goal against Esperance in 529 minutes of Champions League
football at Rufaro yesterday, but that won’t mask the Glamour Boys’ biggest aggregate loss in this tournament.
Mukamba, the home team’s outstanding player on the afternoon, struck in the 79th minute to cancel out an earlier strike by Khaled Ayari to give a wasteful DeMbare a draw on home soil.
But the 0-6 mauling in Tunis, two weeks ago, made this result academic and, despite spending a week claiming they could stage a miracle, the DeMbare players froze on the big stage.
The Glamour Boys will now play in the Caf Confederation Cup after being relegated from the big league and, while at times they were lively yesterday, they lacked quality in key phases of this game.
With their leading forward Takesure Chinyama unavailable because of injury, coach Callisto Pasuwa threw in a lightweight attack. Rodreck Mutuma was a huge disappointment and his substitution was cheered loudly by the home fans.
Pasuwa surprised many with his formation, on a day when DeMbare needed to throw caution to the wind, and by sending Martin Vengesayi to play as a winger, and giving Murape a role in central midfield, it meant that he effectively had one striker — Mutuma. For a team that needed to wipe out a six-goal deficit, the approach was negative and that three defenders kept marking one Esperance striker, all the time, when adventure was needed, underlined their safety-first approach.
Dynamos had met the Tunisian champions on five previous meetings in the Champions League with Esperance winning all the games.
Crucially, DeMbare had been unable to breach the Esperance defence.
In 1999, the two teams met in the group stages with Esperance winning 2-0 at the National Sports Stadium.
Coach Sunday Chidzambwa handed in his resignation after the final whistle, in that game and the Tunisians won 1-0 in Tunis.
In 2010, the clubs met at the same stage and Esperance prevailed 1-0 in both legs.
Dynamos did not have a shot on target in Tunis two weeks ago but they were lively yesterday and, had they not been wasteful, they would have scored, at least, four goals.
Twice, it all came to just the width of the post and the bar, to deny them, with Murape Murape’s header kissing the bar in the first half and young Tichaona Mabvura smashing his shot against the post in the second.
It was clear that Dynamos were trying to move mountains but they started brightly and, when in good positions to pass the ball around and create pressure, they somehow chose to pull the trigger from difficult angles.
That meant Esperance goalkeeper Cherfia Ben was not troubled a lot despite Dynamos pressing deep in his half.
The home team’s best chance came in the 25th minute but Murape hit the cross bar with a close range header after the impressive David Kutyauripo — brilliant all afternoon at centreback — had won the second ball and headed goalwards.
Esperance were comfortable to sit back in their own half and hit Dynamos on counter attacks with their Cameronian forward, Soulamane Coulibouy.
The big forward was impressive with his close ball control and strength and was a thorn in the DeMbare flesh every time he was in possession.
But Kutyauripo, who seemed to strike a good understanding with the rapidly improving Partson Jaure, held firm but they were let down by the way their fullbacks, Thomas Magorimbo and Ocean Mushure, kept giving away possession in the first half.
The Tunisians thrived on their physical game but impressed with their overall quality, especially their positional discipline and support of the man on the ball.
Two minutes after striking the crossbar, Murape created space in the arc and then scooped the ball over the bar.
The veteran midfielder could have done better to lay the ball on for Vengesayi who had charged into the box.
Mukamba then fired horribly wide in the 30th minute and Muparati followed suit when a better decision would have been to release two players in a better position in the left channel.
Dynamos goalkeeper Washington Arubi was barely tested in the first half.
Mukamba, who was full of running all afternoon, then fired an angled drive, struck with both power and accuracy, but his shot was tipped over the bar by the Tunisian goalkeeper.
Just before the half-time break, Mutuma cracked a free kick that beat the wall but Ben fisted the ball away for a throw in.
The Tunisians then, somehow, took the lead in the 48th minute when their skipper Bouzi Wadji shook off Magorimbo on the right, with ease, before whipping a cross that Ayari sliced past the exposed Arubi.
Ayari’s goal meant that Dynamos now needed to score eight goals.
With the fans asking for a change, Pasuwa introduced the Zambian pair of Arthur Kasoleki and Derick Kabwe for their first competitive game and the duo had their moments to charm the supporters.
Kabwe directed his first time header just wide, showing the aerial presence that Mutuma had lacked, and Kasoleki, who was impressive, went on a fine run on the right before drawing the ball back only for Mabvura to crash his effort against upright post in the 77th minute.
Mukamba then got the goal that Dynamos had waited more than eight hours for when he received the ball on the left and charged forward.
A dummy left his marker for dead and he caressed the ball expertly, controlling his low curling shot with the precision of a magician, beyond the reach of the goalkeeper.
“I am happy to have achieved this feat because no Dynamos player had been able to score against this team before,” said Mukamba.
“We have lost the campaign in the Champions League, but it’s encouraging that we have played well. I had the feeling that I
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