BY Sports Reporter
Horoya AC ………(0)2
FC Platinum ……….0
Second half goals from Horoya Athletic Club’s Ocansey Mandela and Yakubu Hudu crushed faint hopes FC Platinum might have entertained of qualifying to the knockout stage of the Caf Champions League in a Group B match played in Conakry, Guinea yesterday evening.
FC Platinum needed a win to stay alive in the competition, but yesterday’s defeat means their journey ends at the group stage.
It leaves log leaders Esperance Tunis (8 points), Horoya Athletic Club (7 points) and Orlando Pirates (5 points) to fight it out for the two slots to advance to the next stage of Africa’s premier club competition.
Defending champions Esperance moved closer to qualification with a 2-0 win over Orlando Pirates in a match that was played earlier in the day.
The highest points tally that FC Platinum can reach is seven since they still have two more matches to play in the group.
However, that total will not be enough to take them through.
They cannot equal Esperance’s total, having lost home and away to Horoya.
For this competition, Caf considers the head-to-head record as a tie breaker.
Having suffered a defeat in their last match in Bulawayo, FC Platinum needed a positive approach to this game and coach Norman Mapeza responded by setting out an attack-minded formation and team selection. He had three at the back where Gift Bello, Lawrence Mhlanga and William Stima formed the shield for goalkeeper Petros Mhari.
The former Warriors gaffer, who could find himself under the spotlight after the latest setback, packed the midfield with Elvis Moyo, Kelvin Madzongwe, Rahman Kutsanzira, Never Tigere and Farai Madhananga.
At the point of the attack, he had Cameroonian Albert Eonde and Charles Sibanda.
After four matches in the group stage, FC Platinum are still without a goal, a statistic that will leave them disappointed, if not embarrassed, considering that they invested more in strikers once they decided they would take part in this competition.
Yesterday, however, they showed some ambition with both Sibanda and Eonde having pops at goal, yet they could not breach the home side’s defence. With the team staring defeat, Mapeza hauled off the ineffective Kutsanzira and Tigere to introduce Rainsome Pavari and Godknows Murwira, but the move failed to spark the comeback they desperately needed. In fact, two minutes after his changes, Horoya pounced with Hudu scoring the insurance goal, having assisted Mandela in the first.