FC PLATINUM supporters came to the stadium with placards showing their full backing of coach Norman Mapeza and the former Warriors mentor repaid the fans with passage into the final of the Uhuru Cup after battling to a 6-5 win over Caps United at Mandava Stadium yesterday.
BY MUKUDZEI CHINGWERE
Allan Gahadzikwa, Thabani Kamusoko, Raphael Mudhuviwa, Wellington Kamudyariwa, Kelvin Moyo and Simon Shoko scored their spotkicks for FC Platinum, while Rodrick Mutuma, Dominic Mukandi, Ronald Pfumbidzayi, Moses Muchenje and Stephen Makatuka converted theirs for the Green Machine.
Francis Tizayi saved the efforts from Crispen Machisi and Leonard Fiyado which was enough to save the blushes of Aaron Katebe who had missed earlier.
Mapeza has been previously under pressure after a poor start in the campaign, but the show of loyalty by the fans will no doubt give him breathing space as he aims to defend the Uhuru Cup.
“In the second half we played some good football and I am happy for the boys,” Mapeza said. “The cup is here with us and we just have to go there and defend it.”
Losing coach Mark Harrison commended both his charges and opponents for a good game.
“It was a magnificent competition. We played well and they also did well. We got our chances and they got theirs.
“Penalties are part of the game. We lost today, but next time, it might be our day,” Harrison said.
After 13 minutes of action, FC Platinum captain Daniel Vheremu had a magnificent overlap, but his final effort was waywardly over Chris Mverechena’s goal.
Seven minutes later, Allan Gahadzikwa released Emmanuel Mandiranga with an inch-perfect pass, but the later hurried his effort, allowing Mverechena to make a simple save.
After the breather, Mapeza’s half-time pep talk seemed to have ignited the brilliance out of Mandiranga.
Moments into the second stanza, the winger raced clear on the right, but his final effort was blocked by the defence.
In the 50th minute, Moses Muchenje gave a scare to Francis Tizayi, in goals for FC Platinum, with a cross that crashed against the upright.
On the hour mark, Mandava was stunned when an unmarked Tarisai Rukanda headed over with Mverechena in no man’s land after being fed by Mandiranga following some brilliant footwork.
At the opposite end, Tinovimba Muskwe got a chance, but blasted it over as the match ended in a stalemate
Caps United: Mverechena C, Zvirekwi H (Machisi C 76), Matova R (Mahori T 46), Makatuka S, Munzambwa C, Mukandi D, Muchenje M, Pfumbidzayi R, Muskwe T, Mutuma R, Musarurwa V
FC Platinum: Tizayi F, Veremu D (Katebe A 67), Nekati I (Mudhuviwa R 69), Moyo K, Kamusoko T, Gahadzikwa A, Dzumbunu T (W Kamudyariwa 46), Shoko S, Rukanda T, Mandiranga E, Mudena P