TSHOLOTSHO . . . . . . . .. . . . 0
FC PLATINUM . .. . . . . . . (2) 3
FC PLATINUM’s championship dream came to a grinding halt despite cruising past Tsholotsho at Luveve Stadium in an electrifying league match that marked the end of the 2016 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season yesterday.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
Two quick goals in the first half by Rodwell Chinyengetere and Marshall Mudehwe and another in the 82nd minute by Gerald Takwara was all FC Platinum needed to claim victory, which was still not enough for them to claim their maiden title.
Despite the title eluding him, coach Norman Mapeza was still happy with the second-place finish.
“We came here for a positive result and the boys did well, but at the end of the day it is congratulations to CAPS United. This was a very exciting season and we hope to keep working hard and hope for better next season,” Mapeza said.
FC Platinum came into the game too strong for Tsholotsho, attacking from the back and dominating the midfield battle.
Their build-ups paid off in the 25th minute when Charles Sibanda received the ball on the right and spotted Chinyengetere in the centre and former Hwange midfielder let rip a screamer from outside the box which left Tsholotsho goalkeeper Chang Mariyoni a mere spectator.
Tsholotsho came back into the game after that goal with few counter-raids, with Maclive Phiri testing FC Platinum goalkeeper Petros Mhari with long-range shots. It, however, counted for nothing as FC Platinum yet again sized the initiative when Mudehwe picked up the ball on the right in the 29th minute, dribbled past left back Xolani Ndlovu before slotting the ball past an advancing Mariyoni.
The second half got off to a slow start with the players seemingly wearing out due to heavy turf following the intermittent light drizzle that characterised the first half and Tsholotsho took advantage and pressed Platinum but were clueless in the final third.
And then Takwara finished them off eight minutes before the final whistle, connecting from a Chinyengetere corner-kick which had eluded Mariyoni.
Tsholotsho coach Lizwe Sweswe said the two quick goals in the first half left his side with an uphill task and they failed to regroup.
“The quick goals from our own mistakes in the first half undid us. Of course I might be worried, but I am still confident we are not going anywhere,” Sweswe said.
They are on position 14 on the log-standings, at par on 26 points with Mutare City Rovers, who fell to Ngezi Platinum Stars at Baobab yesterday, with Tsholotsho above on a superior goal difference.
TSHOLOTSHO: C Mariyoni, N Siwela, X Ndlovu, T Nyabinde, G Magariro, Z Moyo, O Ncube (D Chirwa 58’), B Madanhire (N Gama 78’), R Mufudza (C Dhuwa 79’), M Ponyera, M Phiri
FC PLATINUM: P Mhari, I Nekati, G Bello, K Moyo, E Moyo, W Mhango (N Masuku 90+2’), R Chinyengetere, G Takwara, W Musona (I Wadi 70’), C Sibanda, M Mudehwe