FC Platinum in must-win game

GWERU - FC Platinum will troop into Barbourfields Stadium tomorrow fully aware that anything short of a victory will dent their chances of progressing into the quarter-finals of the 2018-19 African Champions League.

The Zimbabwean champions host Guinea side Horoya AC with both teams winless so far in Group B with only a single point from two games.

Norman Mapeza’s men started their Group B campaign with a commendable 0-0 draw against South African giants Orlando Pirates at Barbourfields last month.

This was the first time the Zvishavane-based side was playing in this stage of the competition after two previous attempts to reach the group stages ended prematurely.

Pure Platinum Play, however, failed to build on that draw as they 2-0 to defending champions Esperance of Tunisia away in Tunis two weeks ago.

The Zimbabweans showed the Tunisians too much respect and were punished by some clinical finishing from Yassine Khenissi, who scored a brace in the comfortable win for the Blood and Gold.      

Esperance did not create many scoring chances in that match but Khenissi made the most of the two chances he got in front of Petros Mhari’s goal.

On the same weekend, Orlando Pirates defeated Horoya 3-0 in Soweto, a win which took the Sea Robbers top of the group with four points.

Esperance are in second place also on four points but they have a lesser goal difference than Pirates.

FC Platinum need to win tomorrow’s game and at least get something from the reverse fixture in Conakry on February 12 if they are to keep their hopes alive of reaching the last eight stage of this competition.

With Esperance and Pirates playing against each other in back-to-back fixtures, this presents FC Platinum with a chance to claim a spot in the top two spots in the group.

“It’s all part of football, you lose, draw or win and it’s a learning curve at the apex of African football and we need to bounce back on Saturday if we really need to stay in this competition,” Mapeza told the Daily News.

Tomorrow, Pure Platinum Play face a Horoya side that is still licking wounds from that drubbing at the hands of Pirates and Mapeza is not underestimating the West Africans.

“We are ready for this game; all our games are very important and we play to win all the time and this game is no different, our target is to win just like we have always done whenever we play,” he said.

Against Esperance, Mapeza had employed a very cautious approach but this time around, the Zimbabwean champions need to be more adventurous if they are to get a result.

The Zvishavane based side will be without defender Elvis Moyo, who is suspended, while there are no injury concerns in the squad.

Meanwhile, Horoya have been in Zimbabwe since arrive last Saturday and have been training in Harare in preparation for tomorrow’s game.

The Guineans then left the capital on Wednesday for Bulawayo as the match moves closer.

The club is currently in mourning following the death of their reserve goalkeeper Djibril Yattara last weekend.

Yattara, who represented Guinea at the 2015 Fifa Under-17 World Cup in Chile, will be buried in the Guinea capital tomorrow on the day of the game.


Comments (2)

You can only win home games in this caf champions league competition.After drawing with Orlando Pirates in the first game,FC Platinum are now expected to win their next home game.Its very difficult to win in North Africa.This team only had two shots on target against Orlando Pirates.I think Mapeza has worked on this weakness as his team are yet to score in this group stage.

widzo - 1 February 2019

Mapeza employs a defensive formation when his FC Platinum is looking for goals.Against Orlando Pirates,the team had only two shots on target.It was the same against Horoya last weekend.Look at Mazembe,they had fourteen shots on target and scored eight goals.Its better to lose 5-1 while you ate attacking than lose 1-0 while defending.This team must learn to defend a lead,not a goal-less situation.

widzo - 5 February 2019

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