ESPERANCE TUNIS . . . (1) 2
FC PLATINUM . . . . . . . . . . . 0
BY SPORTS REPORTER
FC PLATINUM’S chances of progressing to the quarter-finals of the Caf Champions League suffered a setback when the Zimbabwe champions lost to Esperance Tunis in Tunisia yesterday afternoon.
The two teams played in an empty stadium, with the home side serving punishment for their fans’ misbehavior in the final of the last edition of the same competition.
Having played out a goalless draw against Orlando Pirates, FC Platinum were looking to add to their points tally, but goals in either half by Taha
Khenissi condemned Norman Mapeza’s side to defeat.
FC Platinum’s game plan was clearly to sit back and defend, as they had everyone behind the ball in the early part of the match.
It didn’t work out too well for them, as they were to concede their first goal in the 23rd minute.
Despite enjoying most of the ball possession, Esperance had barely threatened FC Platinum goalkeeper Petros Mhari prior to the first goal as they found it difficult to perforate their guests’ defensive blanket.
For the first 20 minutes, FC Platinum barely crossed the halfway line, as they were pegged back by a probing, but patient home side.
It was difficult to see how FC Platinum would be able to sustain such a game plan for the entire 90 minutes.
They were soon forced out of their defensive shape after conceding the goal, as they tried to come back into the game, yet in the first half they never looked threatening.
Kelvin Madzongwe produced a feeble effort from way out and Rami Jeridi didn’t even have to make a save.
Nothing was going in the favour of Pure Platinum Play even in the second half where, to their credit, they showed more ambition.
Defender Elvis Moyo received a yellow card, which rules him out of the next match against Horoya of Guinea.
FC Platinum struggled to get a sniff of the goal as they were kept at bay, with Esperance playing good possession football and denying the visitors chances.
Mapeza’s side are renowned for their passing game, but here, they huffed and puffed chasing the ball, with the home side monopolising.
On 58 minutes, Esperance doubled their lead from a corner kick, where Khenissi managed to place a header past a flat-footed Mhari.
It was difficult to see any way back for FC Platinum after that goal and Mapeza threw in striker Albert Eonde in place of Rainsome Pavari to try and improve penetration, but still, they were denied opportunities.
FC Platinum will be looking to bounce back when they host Horoya on February 2 at home.
FC Platinum line-up
P Mhari, C Taitamba, L Mhlanga (R Muduviwa 90), G Bello, E Moyo, W Stima, K Madzongwe, R Pavari (A Eonde 70), M Dube, F Madhanaga, G Mbweti