DEFENDING champions FC Platinum kept alive their dream of winning the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League title for the third time in a row following a narrow 1-0 win over Chapungu at Ascot Stadium yesterday.
BY TERRY MADYAUTA
Never Tigere scored the solitary goal with a rasping free-kick on the 19th minute from just outside the box, to ensure the platinum miners collect maximum points in this nervy title run-in.
The Chapungu goalkeeper Talbert Shumba remained rooted to his spot when lightning Tigere struck.
With the win, the Zvishavane-based side moved to second position on the log with 56 points ahead of their last two assignments against Black Rhinos and Caps United. They remain two behind their title rivals and log leaders Caps, who are sit on 58 points.
FC Platinum coach Lizwe Sweswe was satisfied with his side’s performance and result.
He said: “It was a good show of character. This is one game which we needed maximum points. Well done to the boys.
“These points will take us somewhere. What is important is to win the remaining two games. If we win, I think we will defend our title and also set the tone for the champions league assignments ahead of us.”
His counterpart Weddington Chinyan’anya was disappointment by the result, which left him facing the axe.
Tendai Chikuni has already been tipped for return to the airforce side.
“It’s very unfortunate and painful that we lost despite playing very well. We have to push hard because as it stands, we are now just above the relegation. The next two games are going to be key for us.
“Today, we had our chances, but failed to convert them and our opponents had fewer chances which they utilised very well,” Chinyan’anya said.
Chapungu carved out a handful of chances, but failed to break the rock-solid FC Platinum rearguard.
At one time, FC Platinum goalminder Francis Tizayi was forced to tip the ball over the bar from Edmore Munhanenhamo’s humdinger of a freekick.
Gracious Mleya also threatened to restore parity at the resumption of second half play, but his thundering effort from close range went over the bar.
FC Platinum forward Rodwell Chinyengetere missed a sitter after failing to capitalise on a gaffe by Shumba.
Chapungu: T Shumba, C Mativenga, H Mugoniwa, B Mbavarira, M Muchingami, G Mleya, E Muzanenhamo, B Mugoni (,P Kumbula 71), D Mukamba (M Mavuto 60), B Chihowa (I Nyoni 52), P Marufu.
FC Platinum: F Tizayi, R Muduviwa, L Mhlanga, G Bello, W Stima, D Chafa, R Pavari (K Madzongwe 60), R Chinyengetere (A Eonde 85), N Tigere, G Nsiala (R Kutsanzira 69), G Mbweti.