The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
FC Platinum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1) 1
UD Songo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
ZIMBABWEAN champions began life without Norman Mapeza with a slender triumph over UD Songo of Mozambique in a Caf Champions League first round, opening fixture at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
Never Tigere scored the solitary goal in the match from a free kick, with Pure Platinum carrying a slender lead heading into the second leg to be played in Mozambique at the end of this month.
Despite the win by the two times in a row Zimbabwean champions, the Mozambicans played better for most parts of the game, especially in the second half, an indication that FC Platinum will not have it easy in the second leg.
Lizwe Sweswe, the man who took over from Mapeza when the former Warriors midfielder stepped down on Thursday was content to have scored a goal against formidable opponents.
“I think what was important was to see how they play and the fact that we scored a goal I think we will have an advantage in the second leg,’’ Sweswe said.
The ex-Tsholotsho coach felt that it was always going to be difficult to score more goals against the Mozambican champions.
“I think 1-0 is a win, we cannot expect to win (by) more than two or three goals to such a team like UD Songo, they are the champions of Mozambique so I am satisfied.”
UD Songo coach, Nacir Armando felt that they played well in the second half and did everything to find an equalising goal. He is confident they will be able to come out victorious in their home country and progress to the next stage.
“In the second half we played well, our team was doing everything to score and draw the match. FC Platinum is a good team, they have good players, our lessons here were learnt and we will do our best to win the game,’’ Armando said.
Tigere fired in the goal for his team with 23 minutes played having been felled outside the box as he charged at goal. He struck such a beauty that went past the visitors’ wall to beat goalkeeper Leonel Pendula on the near post.
FC Platinum wasted opportunities in the first half, with Rodwell Chinyengetere the chief culprit.
The visitors were almost gifted a goal in the 51st minute when miscommunication between Petros Mhari and Gift Bello saw the ball fall for Pachoio King but the striker was slow to react, allowing the keeper to gather the ball.
Chinyengetere missed another opportunity to stretch FC Platinum’s lead, with the fans expressing their dissatisfaction and this saw him replaced by Charles Sibanda with 15 minutes left.
FC Platinum: P Mhari, R Muduviwa, K Mangiza, L Mhlanga, G Bello, K Madzongwe, R Pavari(Magaya 89 mins), N Tigere (Chafa 82 mins), P Chikwende, G Mbweti, R Chinyengetere (Sibanda 75 mins)
US Songo: L Pindula, L Miquissone, I Matola, H Mutambe, P Amorina, A Cherinda, B Januario (Nhantumbo 64 mins), J Banda, A Momade (Sinamunda 90 mins), S Ernesto, P King (Banda 81 mins)