FC Platinum (Zimbabwe)……… (0) 2
Costa do Sol (Mozambique)… (0) 0
(FC Platinum advance 4-1 on aggregate)
FC PLATINUM produced a perfect display to see off Mozambican side Costa do Sol in the second leg of their Caf Champions League preliminary round tie at the National Sports Stadium yesterday and advance to the first round qualifiers of Africa’s premier club competition.
BY KEVIN MAPASURE
The Zimbabwean champions went into the match needing to at least avoid defeat by a two-goal margin, but they made sure the visitors didn’t get a sniff with two second half goals from William Stima on 80 minutes and Perfect Chikwende in stoppage time.
FC Platinum will now meet Tanzanian side Simba Sports Club, who progressed to the next round on a 1-0 aggregate victory over Nigerian side Plateau United.
Following their 2-1 win away in Maputo last week, the Zvishavane-based side, playing their home game at the National Sports Stadium, needed to strike a perfect balance between defence and attack.
They did just that as they shut out the visitors at the back while they took chances when they ventured upfront.
FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza had predicted that Costa do Sol would throw in everything for an early goal and demanded total concentration from his players.
True to his expectations, the visitors started off brightly searching for an early goal that would most likely have unsettled FC Platinum.
Mapeza is a master at taking the sting out of teams and FC Platinum managed to weather the early storm unscathed to take control of the match.
They created very little in the first half and Costa do Sol would have felt hard done sometimes when they were denied a penalty after FC Platinum centre-back Gift Belo appeared to have handled inside the box after four minutes.
The best chance for FC Platinum was a set piece just outside the box, but the usually reliable Silas Songani in such situations, shot straight at the goalkeeper.
That was just about it in the first half where FC Platinum struggled to breach the Mozambicans’ defence.
After the break, Mapeza made a double substitution replacing the injured Songani with Donald Dzvinyai while the ineffective Elie Ilunga made way for Stanley Ngala.
Ngala’s introduction gave the home side better attacking impetus and they started to threaten the Costa do Sol goal.
The miners still struggled, however, to fashion clear-cut chances and it was Costa do Sol who got close to breaking the deadlock when striker Isaac Decarvalho shot from outside the box and a deflection took the ball wide.
From the resultant corner, Decarvalho threatened again with his header sending the ball narrowly wide.
In the last 15 minutes, FC Platinum players looked jaded and started making mistakes yet this is the period they harvested their goals.
With 10 minutes to go, a sense of stalemate was seemingly settling in until FC Platinum won a free kick which they worked well for Stima to fire past the wall and beyond the goalkeeper Victor Guambe.
It was all over for Costa do Sol, but they still fought and threw men forward. With the goal, FC Platinum’s confidence grew and Ralph Kawondera, who scored in the first leg, sent in a shot, but the ball flew just above the bar.
FC Platinum goalkeeper Petros Mhari had a relatively comfortable afternoon, but with four minutes to go he was forced into a spectacular save after Costa do Sol probed once again.
Chikwende laced the result with the second goal after a neat exchange of passes with Brian Banda.
FC Platinum: P Mhari, P Chikwende, K Madzongwe, B Banda, W Stima, G Bello, S Songani (D Dzvinyai 46th), Elie Ilunga (S Ngala 46th), G Mbweti, T Chikore.
Costa do Sol: V Guambe, I Decarvalho, N Divrassone, J Francisco Cassimiro, A Jose Jonasse, S Mondlane, F Miocha, D Muze, F Joao Jone, S Ernesto (H Mario Capena 59th), N Ernesto (C Omar 70th).