Impressive start for FC Platinum

BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe's sole representatives in the African Champions League FC Platinum put up a brave fight yesterday after playing out to a goalless draw against South Africa’s Orlando Pirates at Barbourfields Stadium.

Norman Mapeza’s side with a bit of precision in front of goal could have claimed the full set of points against the 1995 Caf Champions League winners, but in the end a point at the end of 90 minutes was probably a fair result for both sides.

Their group, however, which also has Tunisian giants Esperance and Horoya of Guinea, is still wide open with all the sides in the group evenly poised at one-point each.

Esperance and Horoya played out to a one-all draw in the group’s opening matches on Saturday.

Mapeza will surely have noted some of the grey areas in which his side will have to work on before they make the long trip to Tunisia to face Esperance on Friday.

This means, the former Warriors captain has less than a week to prepare his side for the tough assignment in Tunis.

Yesterday’s match was played before a full capacity crowd at Barbourfields, with the visitors enjoying the lion’s share of possession in the opening quarter and the partisan Highlanders supporters who were openly cheering them buttressed their confidence.

Mapeza’s side to their credit refused to be cowed by their more illustrious opponents, as they held their own but were perhaps let down by the bad Barbourfields pitch.

Devon Chafa, Kelvin Madzongwe and Farai Madhanhanga provided the pith that did well to shield the backline of William Stima, Raphael Muduviwa, Gift Bello and Elvis Moyo against the marauding trio of Warriors’ forward Kuda Mahachi, Zambian Justin Shonga and Thembinkosi Lorch.

Mahachi went into the match on the back of sudden spurt of good form, after scoring against Chippa United and Highlands Park in his last two appearances for Pirates, but failed to rise to the occasion on his return to his old stomping ground.

For all his troubles, the diminutive winger was subbed for Vincent Pule with 15 minutes to go.

The Sea Robbers on three separate occasions came close to breaking the deadlock in the opening half but the home side had skipper Petros Mhari in goal to thank as he twice denied Shonga and Lorch with impressive saves.

In the second half, the visitors upped the tempo as they looked to break the deadlock. However, FC Platinum held their own to thwart numerous raids from the Buccaneers.

In the end both sides eventually settled for a draw which will calm any nerves the Zvishavane-based side might have had considering that they were playing at an adopted home ground.

Comments (1)

Not really impressed,only two shots on target the entire ninety minutes.Its very difficult to win away from home in this caf champions league competition.

widzo - 14 January 2019

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