BY TERRY MADYAUTA in Zvishavane
HERENTALS FC continued with their fine run this season as they put up a solid defensive performance to hold reigning champions FC Platinum to a goalless draw at Mandava Stadium yesterday.
The students came into this encounter with a spring in their step having collected a four points in their last two assignments against struggling Dynamos and Ngezi Platinum.
However, yesterday FC Platinum were the dominant side for the better part of the game with their sleek passing game as they carved out a number of chances, but spurned them all.
Never Tigere had the first chance of the encounter when he smashed the cross bar with a sizzling shot in the 13th minute, with Herentals goal minder Simbarashe Gondo beaten and rooted at one spot.
Moments later, Devon Chafa followed with a long-range effort from about 20 yards from the box, forcing a reaction save from Gondo.
They could have scored through second-half substitute Godknows Murwira, but the former Dynamos player missed a sitter when picked unmarked in the box by Ali Sadiki.
Chafa had another shot from close range palmed by the Herentals goalie, with Gift Mbweti missing the target on the rebound.
Herentals, on the other hand, relied much on counter attacks as they failed to crack the well-marshalled FC Platinum backline. They were, however, very cautious and slow to come out of the blocks, which allowed the FC Platinum defenders enough time to recover.
Twice in the second half, the students were awarded free kicks in promising positions, but their trusted free-kick taker Prince Chama wildly blazed the ball over the cross bar.
A livid FC Platinum gaffer Norman Mapeza could not hide his disappointment after the draw.
“We could have buried the game in the first half, but we could not convert the chances we got. We dominated this encounter and I really thought we could have collected maximum points today,” Mapeza said.
“But we cannot mourn because it’s part of football, at least we got a point. So we now go back to the drawing board and hope to improve in our next assignment.”
His counterpart Kumbirai Mutiwekuziva praised his charges for their fighting spirit.
“I cannot ask for more, these boys have been doing wonders for us. FC Platinum are the toughest team in the league and it means a lot for us to get a point against them,” Mutiwekuziva said.
“Considering the calibre of players I have and what they have, I can safely say we are in the right direction.”
FC Platinum: P Mhari, L Mhlanga, G Bello, K Moyo, E Moyo, D Chafa, R Pavari (G Murwira 50’) A Sadiki, R Kutsanzira (G Mbweti 67’), N Tigere (L Nhamo 67’) P Chikwende.
Herentials: S Gondo, B Majarira, C Mavhurume, J Mutudza (G Chinobva 87), W Chimbetu, B Maunganidze, R Hachiro, T Chitukutuku, T Benza, S Cheya (W Kapumha 52), P Chama (B Majarira 69)
Castle Lager Premier Soccer League results and fixtures:
Yesterday: Bulawayo Chiefs 2-3 Yadah FC, Ngezi Platinum Stars 1-0 TelOne, Black Rhinos 2-1 Triangle United, FC Platinum 0-0 Herentals
Today: Dynamos v ZPC Kariba (Rufaro), Manica Diamonds v Chicken Inn (Gibbo), Chapungu v Mushowani Stars (Mandava), Highlanders v Hwange (Barbourfields), CAPS United v Harare City (NSS)