FC PLATINUM’S chances of snatching the 2017 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League title blossomed yesterday after the miners won on the road against Highlanders to move to within a point of leaders Dynamos, as well as equaling Ngezi Platinum Stars’ tally of 56 points.
by Fortune Mbele
Highlanders . . . . (1) 1
FC Platinum . . . . (1) 2
Norman Mapeza’s side had to do it the hard way, coming from behind to seal victory.
Ali Sadiki rose from the bench to get the winner for FC Platinum out of nothing, pouncing on a clearance by Highlanders’ Erick Mudzingwa to rivet a grounder from long range that beat goalkeeper Nedrick Madeya in the 79th minute.
After sitting back with FC Platinum playing a more attacking game, Highlanders opened the account in the 23rd minute through Simon Munawa, who finished off from a rebound after goalkeeper Wallace Magalane had fumbled.
Veteran striker Mkhokheli Dube replied for FC Platinum eight minutes before the break after Highlanders defensive linkman Tendai Ngulube lost possession to Brett Amidu who became provider.
Mapeza was naturally delighted that his team cut the gap between them and Dynamos and believes they can go on and win the ultimate prize.
“We are still in the mix. The most important thing was for us not to be far behind in terms of points. We still have to keep pushing. The games are becoming difficult. I said on Sunday our life is like that of a fisherman. If you don’t catch anything it does not mean you have to lose hope. It’s about perseverance. We have to keep pushing; it might happen. We just have to keep believing,” Mapeza said.
FC Platinum were the better side playing their usual passing game and dominated play from the onset with Hillary Bakacheza’s effort from inside the penalty box failing to beat Madeya in the seventh minute while Dube’s header in the 18th minute missing the upright.
Highlanders got their first chance in the 22nd minute after Godfrey Makaruse’s shot was safely collected by Magalane before they scored that goal a minute later by Munawa.
FC Platinum got back into the game after Dube’s equaliser and two minutes before half time he set-up Amidu inside the box but the latter missed the target.
In the second half Kelvin Moyo was denied by the cross bar in the 72nd minute from a substitute Sadiki free-kick.
A chance for Highlanders to equalise came eight minutes before the final whistle but Magalane made another brilliant save from an Allan Gahadzikwa header.
Highlanders remain on 37 points sitting on position eight on the table, but coach Akbay believes they have a chance of ending the season in the top four.
“We gave them too much space in the midfield. But overall I was not very sad. It was painful losing 2-1 but I cannot complain on how we played. We had our opportunity to score but we could not. We are not losing hope yet. We have to focus on the next game. We have to win the remaining games if we are to finish in top four,” Akbay said.
Highlanders: N Madeya, B Ncube, H Moyo (R Lunga 84′), E Mudzingwa, P Muduhwa, T Ngulube, G Makaruse (B Banda 67′), S Munawa, R Matema, R Kutsanzira, G Nyoni (A Gahadzikwa 47′)
FC Platinum: W Magalane, I Nekati (R Muduviwa 77′), G Bello, K Moyo, E Moyo, W Mhango, R Chinyengetere, B Amidu, M Dube, H Bakacheza (A Sadiki 69′), H Moyo (T Chinyama 57′)