The Sunday News
Sikhumbuzo Moyo, in Khartoum, Sudan
FC Platinum coach Lizwe Sweswe believes they could have defended better against Sudanese champions Al Hilal which would have enhanced their chances of coming out with at least a point in their Total Caf Champions League Group B match played at Al Hilal Stadium on Friday night.
The Zimbabwe champions fell 1-2 in a game which had the boys been more clinical could have seen them produce one of the biggest upsets in African football by stunning the heavily financed Sudanese outfit.
However, a brace by Mohamed Musa Elder, who scored in each half, all after a poor defensive approach by the visitors, were enough to give the hosts maximum points despite a late top drawer free kick by Never Tigere after second-half substitute Guyve Nsiala was hacked down.
The hosts went into the lead 26th minutes into the match when Elder ghosted from behind William Stima to beat a diving Francis Tizayi in goal for the Zimbabwean champions.
The second goal was also as a result of an error this time from big Lawrence Mhlanga who failed to clear a rebound after the ball had hit the upright post.
“I think we should have done better really, especially in terms of our defending, we should have defended better than the way we did.
“Look, these are big games and if you give such teams chances they will utilise them, no doubt about that and those two goals were such given chances.
“With the quality of players we have we ought to have done much better,” said Sweswe in his post-match analysis.
Despite the two goals that Pure Platinum Play conceded, the story could still have been different had they buried the chances that came through especially a first-half headed miss by Tawana Chikore after a sleek move by FC Platinum.
Instead Chikore headed his effort over the bar with the goalkeeper completely beaten.
FC Platinum had done well to weather a torrent of attacks from the hosts who literally camped in the final third inside the first 15 minutes as they searched for an early goal but the three men defence of outstanding Gift Bello, Mhlanga and Stima, ably supported by holding midfielder Kelvin Madzongwe who guarded their territory with aplomb.
“We knew they will come at us in those opening minutes and when we had weathered that storm, we then began to take the game to them and it all looked according to plan until that catastrophic blunder where we failed to see Elder ghosting in from behind, but still I also feel we should have converted our chances that came our way.
“We ought to have converted at least two goals but that is done now, we will work on those shortcomings as we prepare for the next match,” said Sweswe.
With the way they performed on Friday, Pure Platinum Play might as well believe that this time around, they will do far much better than their last Champions League Group stage appearance where they failed to win even a single match.
“We just need to be focused and I am sure we will get it right this time around,” said Sweswe.