FLAME LILY . . . . . . . (0) 1
FC PLATINUM . . . . . (1) 1
FC Platinum surrendered a first-half lead to draw against stubborn Flame Lily in a Castle Lager Premiership football tie at Lafarge Stadium yesterday.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
The draw leaves Norman Mapeza’s men still two points off leaders Chicken Inn, who also drew 1-1 against Tsholotsho.
Chicken Inn now have 55 points and FC Platinum 53, with only two matches left in the campaign.
Marshall Mudewe, probably the fastest winger in domestic football at the moment, thrust FC Platinum into the lead on 17 minutes, coming in from the blind side to score with a downward header to beat goalkeeper, Lloyd Majarira.
But FC Platinum, famed for their passing game, struggled for fluency on a bumpy Lafarge Stadium pitch, often resorting to pumping high balls, while the home team appeared comfortable and threatened with some dangerous raids.
Earlier on, Kelvin Moyo had been forced to clear the ball out of danger after Moses Demera had unleashed a powerful shot.
In the second half, the visitors took the game to their opponents, with Edwin Madhahaga missing a headed opportunity on 48 minutes.
After 66 minutes, Motion Mpondamissed another header, as the home team pressed for an equaliser.
It eventually came on 76 minutes, with defender Brighton Chayambuka scoring a stunning free kick that beat goalkeeper Petros Mhari.
The goal gave them confidence, as they continued to launch wave-afterwave of attack in their opponents’ goal area.
However, FC Platinum remained resolute in defence until the referee blew to end the match.
Mapeza was happy with the point and applauded his charges.
“It’s a good performance from the players. We knew it was going to be a difficult match and I will be stupid to complain after this draw. We have worked very hard to be where we are today and I am happy with the boys, except that we conceded a soft free-kick,” Mapeza said.
He also bemoaned the condition of the pitch.
“I am not complaining about the pitch because we have drawn, but who do you think can play football on a pitch like this? It’s for the PSL (Premier Soccer League) to comment about the pitches,but this is not a good pitch to play football.
We will not develop our football nif we continue to play on pitches like these. We are not worried about Chicken Inn. I have been in this situation before at Monomotapa, this is a challenge
any coach would want to face,” Mapeza said.
His counterpart, Takesure Chiragwi, was happy with the result, but said they conceded a silly goal.
“We played well, especially in the second half. We came back stronger and could have won the match with a bit of luck, but that’s football. It’s two points dropped than one point gained because we wanted