BY TERRY MADYAUTA
FC PLATINUM………..(2) 2
CHICKEN INN…………(1) 1
FC Platinum maintained their winning start to the new season with a nervy win over Chicken Inn in a pulsating Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match played Mandava stadium yesterday.
Chibuku Super Cup semi-final hero, Innocent Mucheneka and Donald Teguru were on target while Brian Muza scored Chicken Inn’s consolation goal.
For Norman Mapeza this was a reassuring familiarity of a win over the stubborn Gamecocks, which ultimately put them on the summit of the log standings with six points.
“They gave us a good run for our money especially in the first half where they were pressing and dominant,” Mapeza said.
“We are lucky to have gone to the halftime not trailing. Our goals stood and later on, it was how we managed the game that mattered.
“I wasn’t particularly happy that we weren’t organised at the back in the first half but we were better when we returned from the halftime break.
“The second half was all about game management and how we did it mattered most, we now look forward to the next match against Ngezi Platinum in the Chibuku Super Cup final next weekend.”
Meanwhile, for his counterpart, Joey Antipas, it was only but a sobering reality that little has changed since their previous meetings with the defending Champions.
“We gave away what I thought are soft goals, with better concentration I expected better,” Antipas said.
“Both teams played well, the game was tense but I thought we had the upper hand. On the first goal, they took advantage that one of our players was down and they scored.
“The second goal was soft as well and that made the day difficult for us. It’s not easy to bounce back from two goals down.
“But the boys tried hard to come back, only that maybe it wasn’t our day, however I hope we are going to improve on our accuracy and decision making especially in the strikers department, which was lacking today.”
In the first 15 minutes, Chicken Inn were doing reasonably well. They were controlling the ball, pressing high but not doing much with it.
And they were punished for their lack of inspiration in attack and lack of concentration at the back.
Their former player Muchaneka thrust the platinum miners ahead after 16 minutes, with a clinical finish from a rebound after Panashe Mutimbanyoka’s initial effort hit the upright.
Ten minutes later, Donald Teguru extended FC Platinum’s lead with a thunderous strike from just outside the box, having been picked unmarked by Brian Banda, before freely picking his spot with a shot that even the cat-like reflex made by goalie Donovan Bernard could not match.
The Gamecocks then grabbed their goal on the stroke of halftime courtesy of a powerful header by Muza from a Xolani Ndlovu delivery.
In truth, Chicken Inn could have won this game, and even with a decent margin, had they been accurate in front of goal especially in the first half where they were dominant.
Castle Lager Premier Soccer League Results & Fixtures
Today: Highlanders v Ngezi Platinum Stars (Barbourfields), Triangle v Dynamos (Gibbo), CAPS United v Harare City (National Sports Stadium)
Yesterday: FC Platinum 2-1 Chicken Inn, Yadah 1-2 ZPC Kariba, Herentals 1-1 Black Rhinos, Bulawayo City v Manica Diamonds, Tenax CS 2-2 Whawha
Friday: Cranborne Bullets 0-0 Bulawayo Chiefs