From Sikhumbuzo Moyo in Zvishavane
FC Platinum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(1) (2)
Ngezi Platinum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(1) (1)
ZVISHAVANE-based outfit FC Platinum kept alive their dream of not only landing their maiden Premier Soccer League title but of becoming the first side from outside Harare and Bulawayo to win the coveted crown in more than 50 years with a polished come from behind win over Ngezi Platinum at Mandava Stadium yesterday.
Down 1-0 after a Michaeal Charamba 25th minute scorcher from inside the box, the home side managed to score two goals from identical situations in either side of the half to emerge victorious and remain top of the standings heading into the last round of matches this coming weekend.
The equaliser came two minutes into first half stoppage time when star defender Kevin Moyo ghosted from the blind side in a goal mouth melee resulting from a corner kick to riffle the ball home and 25 minutes into the second half Mandava Stadium erupted into delirium when Rodwell Chinyengetere propelled them ahead with a first time tap in from an Ali Sadiki corner kick after second half substitute Gift Mbweti forced the set piece.
Mbweti had come in for Charles Sibanda, who had picked up a knock five minutes earlier.
“The dream lives on, we came with a game plan which was to get three points and it worked. We knew they would come pressing hard from the start and they did just that, they scored but we kept our shape and managed to come from behind. It’s all up to us to lose now,” said an elated FC Platinum gaffer Norman Mapeza in his post match interview.
After absorbing their opponents’ early pressure, FC Platinum started to probe forward just under the quarter mark that saw Nqobizitha Masuku taking a crack at goal from outside the box which however went over the bar.
Masuku and midfield enforcer Winston Mhango combined well in the crucial midfield area, restricting the visitors’ Xolisani Moyo who looked dangerous everytime he was in possession.
“I thought we started brightly but our defending was not up to scratch, we made the same mistakes we did when we played Chicken Inn, failing to defend dead ball situations and I am naturally very disappointed,” said a dejected Ngezi Platinum coach Tonderayi Ndiraya.
On top of the situation referee Ruzive Ruzive allowed play to flow but flashed yellow cards to the visitors’ Takabva Mawaya for time wasting in the 33rd minute and skipper Parson Jaure for an unnecessary foul on Elvis Moyo later in the second half.
Pure Platinum now need to avoid a defeat in their last game against Chapungu to join St Pauls Musami’s 1966 triumphant season as the only team to have won the league title from outside Harare and Bulawayo.
FC Platinum: Wallace Magalane, Ian Nekati, Gift Bello, Kevin Moyo, Elvis Moyo, Winston Mhango, Rodwell Chinyengetere (Brian Muzondiwa 90 +1 min) Nqobizitha Masuku (Gerald Takwara 80th min), Charles Sibanda (Gift Mbweti 65th min), Ali Sadiki, Mkhokheli Dube
Unused Subs: Petros Mhari, William Stima, Raphael Muduviwa, Takesure Chinyama
Ngezi Platinum:Takabva Mawaya, Davison Tavari, Partson Jaure, Qadr Amini( Tatenda Mchisi 76th min) Liberty Chakoroma, Xolisani Moyo (Donald Teguru 82nd min), Godknows Murwira, Walter Mukanga, MichaeL Charamba , Clive Augusto, Terrence Dzvukamanja (Kenneth Bulaji 78th min)
Subs: Edgar Mhungu, Keith Murera, Washington Pakamisa, Nelson Chadya
Officials: Referee: Ruzive Ruzive. First Assistant Referee: Chenjerai Chiwumbiri. Second Assistant Referee: Alois Muzorori. Fourth official: Patrick Kalota.