FC Platinum, Ngezi resume title race

HARARE - After a one-week break, FC Platinum and Ngezi Platinum Stars will this afternoon continue with their battle for the 2018 Castle Lager premiership title.

The two platinum teams have turned the championship race into a duopoly by performing exceedingly well than the rest of the other 16 teams in the division.

Defending champions FC Platinum are on top of the log with 58 points from 25 matches while second-placed Ngezi Platinum are on 54 points from the same number of matches.

Third-placed Chicken Inn are the closest contender but coach Joey Antipas has already given up on his side gatecrashing the platinum party as they are on 47 points with only 10 games to go before the season comes to an end.

FC Platinum face the sternest test this afternoon when they travel to the capital to face Black Rhinos at the National Sports Stadium.

Pure Platinum Play come into this match on the back of two consecutive home wins over Bulawayo Chiefs (3-1) and Mutare City Rovers (6-0).

Their last visit to the capital last month ended in sadness for Norman Mapeza’s side as they lost 0-1 to Harare City at Rufaro Stadium.

Black Rhinos have had an inconsistent season as they come into the encounter in eighth place with 33 points.

Herbert Maruwa’s side have only one win in their last five matches as they continue with their struggle in the second half of the season.

Before this run, the army side had been unbeaten in 10 games but has simply lost their way in recent matches.

Despite this recent poor form, Chauya Chipembere remains a formidable side especially at home and will probably make it difficult for FC Platinum this afternoon.

Rhinos were, however, dealt a major blow ahead of this match following the suspension of captain and forward Lot Chiwunga.

The Rhinos top scorer with seven goals this season accumulated three yellow cards, hence will not feature in today’s encounter.

The reverse fixture between the two teams was a tight contest and FC Platinum needed a second half goal by midfielder Never Tigere to earn a slender 1-0 win at Mandava Stadium.

At Baobab Stadium this afternoon, Ngezi Platinum will be hoping to continue piling pressure on FC Platinum when they host ZPC Kariba.

Tonderai Ndiraya’s men slipped up a bit when they drew with Chicken Inn (1-1) and lost to Mutare City (1-0) in their last four matches.

Madamburo, however, earned a precious 1-2 away win over Highlanders at Barbourfields Stadium in their last outing.

Ngezi have generally done well at home this season as they have won 11 of the 12 matches they have played at Baobab Stadium this season.

The only time Ndiraya’s side failed to pick up maximum points was when they lost 1-2 to FC Platinum in June.

Against ZPC Kariba they do, however, come up against a side that is in form after two consecutive wins over Chicken Inn (0-1) and Shabanie Mine (1-0).

The power utility side comes into this game in ninth place on the log with 33 points.

Godfrey Tamirepi’s side will also take confidence from the fact that in the reverse fixture, they managed a goalless draw at a time when Ngezi Platinum were beating all the teams in the division in the first half of the season.  

FIXTURES

Today: Ngezi Platinum v ZPC Kariba (Baobab), Chicken Inn v CAPS United (Luveve), Nichrut v Bulawayo City (Ascot), Black Rhinos v FC Platinum (NSS), Shabanie Mine v Yadah FC (Maglas), Herentals v Bulawayo Chiefs (Rufaro), Mutare City v Highlanders (Vengere), Triangle United v Harare City (Gibbo)

Tomorrow: Dynamos v Chapungu (Rufaro)

Saturday: FC Platinum v Herentals (Mandava), Bulawayo City v Chicken Inn (Barbourfields), ZPC Kariba v Highlanders (Nyamhunga), Yadah FC v Ngezi Platinum (Rufaro), CAPS United v Shabanie Mine (NSS)

Sunday: Chapungu v Nichrut (Ascot), Bulawayo Chiefs v Triangle United (Luveve), Harare City v Dynamos (Rufaro), Black Rhinos v Mutare City (NSS)

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