BY TERRY MADYAUTA
FC PLATINUM………..(1) 1
DEFENDING champions FC Platinum finally recorded their first win since the league’s resumption this year when they edged Harare City 1-0 at Mandava stadium yesterday.
Defender Lawrence Mhlanga scored the solitary goal of the match on his first appearance this season to end the club’s three match winless streak, where they lost to Bulawayo Chiefs and drew with Dynamos and ZPC Kariba respectively.
Head coach Norman Mapeza missed the match having travelled to Spain for a skills exchange programme with the club’s La Liga Santander partner, Real Betis.
His absence was barely felt as FC Platinum began the match on the front-foot, with their sleek and fast passing game.
The Sunshine Boys, on the other hand, arguably carried less threat throughout the match, though they had sporadic flashes at goal.
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FC Platinum’s early dominance in the match paid dividends in the 17th minute mark, when Mhlanga rose highest in the 18 yard box to nod the ball home from a corner kick curled in by Innocent Mucheneka.
While the goal seemed to have breathed life into FC Platinum, Harare City also turned on their screws, piling pressure in search for an equaliser.
That was after a tactical substitution with Ben Musaka being thrown into the fray to replace Spencer Masunda, who was having a bad day in office.
At one moment, Wilfred Muvirimi rode a strong challenge from William Stima, which was an impressive feat in itself, before making a stunning turn and shot that left Petros Mhari rooted at one spot even as the ball missed the target by a few inches.
In a quick return of play, Donald Dzvinyai almost cost his team when his intended back pass went straight to his opponent, Thandolwenkosi Ngwenya.
Ngwenya tried to chip goalie Shangiwa, but he repelled the shot, before gallantly blocking Innocent Mucheneka’s shot from the rebound.
Stand in coach Daniel Vheremu said he was satisfied with how the players applied themselves but admitted the strikers need to work on their finishing.
“The win was coming. We knew it was coming soon because there has been massive improvement since we played ZPC Kariba,” Vheremu said.
“Last time out, we could have won but a lack of concentration let us down. What impresses me is that we are creating those chances which is what we need to get goals.
“Of course the strikers need to be worked on especially with regards to their finishing, but creating chances means we will soon get there. It’s just a matter of time.
“At least with the coach (Mapeza), we now know what we must work on but this result means alot for us now.”
His counterpart, Taurai Mangwiro conceded defeat, attributing it to his team’s lack of cohesion.
“We conceded an ordinary goal, that one was just a goal we could have defended easily, but we failed,” he said.
“This is a similar goal to what we conceded last week. It means we have to work on our set piece and defending as well as our conversion rate because that’s where we are losing it.”
Castle Lager Premiership Results & Fixtures
Yesterday: Herentals 1-1 Bulawayo City; Yadah 1-1 Manica Diamonds; FC Platinum 1-0 Harare City; Bulawayo Chiefs 0-2 Dynamos (Barbourfields)
Today: CAPS United v Whawha (NSS); Cranborne Bullets v Black Rhinos (Baobab); Tenax v Highlanders (Sakubva); Triangle v Ngezi Platinum Stars (Gibbo); Chicken Inn v ZPC Kariba (Luveve)