BY FORTUNE MBELE
FC PLATINUM ………0
HOROYA AC…….. (0)1
VISITING Guinean side Horoya AC put a damper into FC Platinum’s Caf Champions League campaign when they beat them in their own backyard at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
After dominating the first half, Horoya got the only goal of the match five minutes after the break when FC Platinum goalkeeper Petros Mhari hacked down an advancing Mandela Ocansey inside the penalty box and Algerian referee Mustapha Ghorbal pointed to the spot.
Assoko Marius took the responsibility to send Mhari the wrong way to put FC Platinum’s plans in the competition into disarray.
FC Platinum are now bottom of Group B with a point in three matches and remain the only team in the group yet to score a goal.
Yesterday’s victory took Horoya AC to four points at par with log leaders Orlando Pirates and Esperance who were due to meet at Orlando Stadium in South Africa late yesterday evening.
Marius’ goal might have put an end to FC Platinum’s journey in the Caf Champions League as they head to Guinea on February 12 for the reverse fixture with Horoya before another tough away match to Orlando Pirates and then finishing off the group stages campaign against Esperance at home.
Only two top teams in each group qualify for the quarter-finals.
FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza admitted his side now faces an uphill task to progress to the last eight after wasting an opportunity to collect maximum points at home.
“I would like to congratulate my colleague (Patrice Neveu) for winning the match. We were not ourselves today. We conceded from a penalty which I think was too harsh on us, but it is part of the game. It’s now a big mountain for us to climb. We just have to push hard and see what happens,” Mapeza said.
Mapeza added: “We wanted to win the game. There is no way we were going to sit and defend. Mathematically we might be out, but for us it is about the experience and we will keep on working hard and see how it goes,” he said.
Frenchman Neveu was happy with the result, which enhances their chances of reaching the knockout stages of the lucrative competition.
“We are happy with the result; an away victory is most satisfying. We are also satisfied with the quality from the players. It was a good game, we just had to have a go at them in the first half so that they would lose their pattern. Our style was stronger than theirs,” Neveu said.
FC Platinum’s laxity in defence allowed the visitors too much space and time in the first half with Ocansey, Amadou Mohamed and Bolaji Sakin having a field day upfront.
Mohamed was the first to have a shot at goal as early as the fourth minute, but his effort went wide.
FC Platinum, who used Charles Sibanda as the lone striker upfront with veteran Mkhokheli Dube watching from the terraces, did not show any intention of scoring in the first half with their only two attempts at goal coming from anchorman Kelvin Madzongwe from a long-range effort.
In the second half, Mapeza brought in Lameck Nhamo upfront and dropped Sibanda to the midfield in search of that goal.
Gift Mbweti was chasing shadows for the entire game and was replaced by Ali Sadiki in the 72nd minute. They had their moments deep into the second half and another substitute, Albert Eonde, missed a sitter in optional time, the only clear chance for the hosts to restore parity.
FC Platinum: P Mhari, F Madhananga, D Chafa (L Nhamo 58′), K Madzongwe, R Muduviwa, C Sibanda (A Eonde 78′), W Stima, G Bello, R Kutsanzira, K Moyo, G Mbweti (A Sadiki 72′)
Horoya: K Ndiaye, H Yakubu, A Marius, A Camara, G Asante, S Kyei, B Sakin (N Dramane 73′), A Mohamed, A Camara, B Haba (S Keita 89′), M Ocansey (A Camara 85′).