FC Platinum…….. 0 (2)
Harare City………. 0
FC PLATINUM produced a professional performance to beat Harare City at Mandava Stadium yesterday, a result that saw the Norman Mapeza-coached side reducing the gap on log leaders Chicken Inn to just two points with three matches left in the season.
BY HENRY MHARA
Second-half substitute Nigel Papias gave his side the lead on 56th minute, five minutes after coming on before Tatenda Mudehwe ensured maximum points for his side 11 minutes later.
Victorious coach Norman Mapeza said this was a massive result for his team who are looking for their first ever league title.
“I’m happy for the boys, they are working hard. It’s a massive result for FC Platinum, we now need to try and collect maximum points in the remaining matches and see what happens at the end of the season,” said Mapeza.
Harare City coach Taurai Mangwiro was disappointed in the way his side gave away the two goals.
“I’m not happy we dropped all three points in a match I thought we could have salvaged something. I would say we were our own worst enemy. We committed elementary mistakes in defense and we were punished,” bemoaned Mangwiro.
After Chicken Inn had dropped two points against WhaWha in an earlier kickoff, Platinum needed to collect maximum points to put pressure on the log leaders.
A minute of silence to honour fallen Warriors legend Paul Gundani who died earlier this week preceded kickoff at Mandava.
It was Harare City who were the first to threaten the opponent when William Manondo was afforded too much space on 6th minute and released a shot which hit the upright and from the rebound, Kudakwashe Kumwala could only find the side netting.
FC Platinum soon got grip of the match but despite bossing possession, they got their first real chance on 29th minute when Emmanuel Mandiranga headed just wide following a corner kick.
Harare City defenders were giving away freekicks in dangerous positions, conceding three around their own box in the last 10 minutes of the first half, but FC Platinum failed to make them pay for the sloppiness as the half ended goalless.
The first-half pattern of play followed in the second, FC Platinum controlling possession and City curving better chances early on, with Kumwala’s attempted curling shot from inside the box going horribly wide on 48th minute.
Mapeza’s response was to pull out Mandiranga for Papias on 50th minute and it proved a masterstroke as moments later, the 19-year-old made the difference — blasting home from close range, capitalising on Themba Ndhlovu’s poor clearance. It was Chawapiwa though who should take the blame for the goal after he failed to track down his marker who then delivered a devilish cross which caused all the trouble.
Mangwiro suffered another blow soon after when Francesco Zekumbawira was stretchered off the pitch with a suspected groin problem.
Things got even better for FC Platinum on 67 minute when Mudehwe fired home on the near post. City goalkeeper Tafadzwa Dube, who was standing in for Maxwell Nyamupangedengu who missed the trip to the Midlands, knows he could have done better to block the shot.
The away side tried hard to come back into the match, but FC Platinum held on for the precious points.
FC Platinum — P Mhari, I Nekati, G Bello, K Moyo (S Shoko, 57’), E Moyo, W Mhango, G Takwara, T Dzumbunu, T Mudehwe, E Mandiranga (N Papias, 50’), O Chirwa.
Harare City — T Dube, G Chimwemwe, A Chivheya, T Ndhlovu, C Dickson, J Jam, T Samanja, W Manondo, K Kumwala (A Murimba, 59’), F Zekumbawira (O Mukuradare, 61’), T Chawapiwa (B Maglasi, 70’).