The Sunday News
Ngqwele Dube, Sports Correspondent
FC Platinum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
Etoile du Sahel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(1) 3
FC PLATINUM’s poor run in the Caf Champions League group stage continued as they were hammered by visiting Tunisian side, Etoile du Sahel in their second match at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
Defensive lapses cost the home side as they were beaten on the counter-attack twice despite maintaining possession for the better part of the game. The teams were evenly balanced in the first-half but FC Platinum struggled to create clear cut chances and allowed Etoile to take the lead in the 23rd minute when double scorer, Karim Aribi scored his first with a header off a Maher Hannachi cross from the right flank. Aribi took advantage of his superior height to take a free header inside the box.
The home side’s real chance at goal came in the 38th minute when Kelvin Madzongwe released a rising shot from outside the box to force Etoile’s goalkeeper, Achraf Krir to punch the ball away for a corner but the Platinum miners could not make much of the ball. Never Tigere also had a shot at goal punched away by Krir just before the interval as he took a free kick from outside the box.
Etoile made it two a minutes into the second-half after a quick counter-attack saw Wajdi Kechrida cross the ball from the right flank, allowing Aribi to tap in for his second goal of the match after catching the Platinum defence napping. The Tunisians hit the last nail in the coffin a minute into injury time when another quick counter-attack saw substitute Hazem Haj Hassen make another tap in off a Hannachi cross from the left flank.
The loss, which is the second for FC Platinum in the group stages left the side being the only team still to collect a point and are at the bottom of Group B which also has Egypt’s Al Ahly and Sudan’s Al Hilal, who are on three point each while Etoile are on top of the log with six points. However, FC Platinum coach, Lizwe Sweswe remained hopeful despite the loss saying his side played well but were let down by defensive blunders.
“We had lapses in concentration at the back and they (Etoile) took advantage of that to punish us but there are still more games to be played and we will keep on fighting. I am hopeful we will turn our fortunes around and build on the positives that we had in the game such as maintaining possession and work on the grey areas that saw us being beaten,” he said.
Etoile coach, Juan Carlos Garrido was pleased with the result saying they knew it was going to be a difficult match but made the right moves at the key moments to score their goals.
“We knew it was going to be important to be effective at the right moments and for me the second goal was important coming in just after the start of the second-half, it boosted our confidence. We were also lucky they (FC Platinum) failed to convert the chances they got,” he said.