By Sindiso Dube in Bulawayo
FC Platinum (0) 0
Al-Hilal (0) 1
Zimbabwean champions FC Platinum’s woes in the CAF Champions League Group stages continued after they lost to Sudanese champions Al-Hilal in a match played at the Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
Al-Hilal, on the other hand, brightened their hopes of advancing to the knockout stages as they moved to nine points in the group with one match to go.
Substitute Mohamed Eldai capitalised on a blunder by FC Platinum defender Gift Bello after Perfect Chikwende had lost the ball in the Sudanese half and gave the visitors the lead in the 84th minute.
Eldai scored with his first and probably last touch of the afternoon after he had replaced Majeed three minutes earlier.
Pure Platinum had wasted a precious chance to take the lead after Tawana Chikore missed a penalty kick, awarded in the 25th minute after Rahman Kutsanzira was pushed down in the box.
Both teams were guilty of missed opportunities in the first half as they went to the break goalless.
FC Platinum coach Hendrikus Pieter de Jongh bemoaned the wasted chances which he felt could have changed the complexion of the game.
“We wasted great chances of scoring, especially in the first half where we missed a penalty kick. If we had scored that one it was going to be easy for us to play leading. That penalty miss changed the whole complexion of the game,” he said.
“In the second half the Sudanese punished us for losing the ball, hitting us on a counter attack which we failed to deal with in our own half. That’s the reality of international football, small details make a huge difference.”
The Sudanese team’s coach Fateh Nager applauded his players for controlling the match and also credited changes he made in the second half.
“We came into the second half a changed side. I had to change the formation during the break and added more power in the centre and that’s when we started controlling the game. I am happy we managed to hold in the second half and eventually winning the match,” he said.
FC Platinum anchor the log standings with just one point in a group that also includes Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia and Egyptian giants Al Ahly.
The Zvishavane-based side have one game remaining, a trip to Tunisia for a date with Etoile du Sahel on Saturday.