Green Mamba . . . . . (0) 2
FC Platinum . . . . . . . (3) 4
Donald Ngoma stuck a double to give FC Platinum a winning start against Green Mamba in the preliminary round first leg Caf Champions League tie played at Somhlolo Stadium yesterday.
Ngoma was on target in the 10th and 28th minutes before Allen Gahadzikwa added the third on the half-hour and Ali Sadiki’s comical goal in the 85tth minute ensured victory for the Zimbabwe debutants.
But they were caught napping twice in defence, which allowed the hosts’ Welile Maseko (63rd min) and substitute Macebo Mdluli (90th min) to reduce the gap.
And that left coach Rahman Gumbo unhappy.
“Four goals away from home is good, but we conceded two soft goals and I am not happy at all with the defence. But this is the real first competitive match for the boys, they did pretty well,” he said in his post-match interview.
His counterpart Francis Banda said: “We allowed them too much space in the first half and we were too slow to the ball. But in the second half, we changed our approach and the substitutions helped us to get the goals.
“We will fight to win the return leg, it’s not over.”
Banda was in charge of the proceedings as former Dynamos coach Lloyd Mutasa cut a lone figure on the technical bench. Mutasa had earlier stood by the tunnel before the match and only sat on the bench after the game had started as the tensions between the two men were clear.
Watched by about 100 supporters, some of whom came from Zimbabwe and others resident in Swaziland, Platinum controlled proceedings from the start and surged ahead after just 10 minutes.
Ngoma opened the floodgates when Charles Sibanda’s long cross into the box was brought back from the byline by Gahadzikwa.
Seeing Ngoma running into the box, the former Motor Action man delivered a cross that his teammate headed first as defender Musa Ngwenya was trying to clear.
Two minutes later, Gahadzikwa’s diving header from a Sadiki corner went just wide while at the opposite end goalkeeper Tafadzwa Dube denied Maseko the equaliser.
It was 2-0 in the 28th minute and what a beauty it was! Captain Zephaniah Ngodzo started the move at the back, exchanging passes with his brother Joel and Gahadzikwa before receiving the return pass that he chipped into space for Ngoma.
The big striker outmuscled Sabelo Shilobane and sliced the ball past outdrawn goalkeeper Njabuliso Simelane to his far right. The keeper ought to have done better on this one, but went off his line too quickly, only covering one side of his goal.
Gahadzikwa then made it three after Qadr Amini and Sibanda had played some beautiful football on the left flank for Platinum to go to the breather with a comfortable lead.
Platinum needed to get an insurance goal early in the second half, but when Amini slipped in a bid to control the ball in the 63rd minute, Civil Matshobane took advantage and laid the ball on to Maseko who easily beat Dube.
In fact the hosts’ play in the second half had changed as Platinum struggled, but they held on until the 85th minute when Sadiki’s shot at goal bounced off the back of a defender and over the keeper, leaving him in a heap on the goal line.
That defensive laxity in central defence, where Gilbert Banda and Daniel Vheremu were hesitant in clearing some balls, came back to haunt Platinum on the death as Mdluli got the second goal.
Worse, anchorman Kabby Kamhapa was off duty and the defence was exposed to the Mamba attacks.