Lovemore Dube in NAIROBI, Kenya
Sofapaka 1-2 FC Platinum
FC PLATINUM gave Zimbabwean football something to smile about with a tactically disciplined display that saw them beating Sofapaka in the first leg of the Caf Confederation Cup preliminary round at Nyayo Stadium here yesterday.
Brian Muzondiwa and Donald Ngoma scored in the 25th and 75th minutes to leave the Midlands giants with one foot in the next round.
With yesterday’s result, the Zvishavane team made the second leg, due in two weeks’ time, easier though the Sofapaka coach Sam Timbe warned that it was not yet over.
“This is football. A team from Zambia went to Tanzania and won 6-0 and Simba won by a similar margin in Zambia and proceeded to the next stage of the tournament,” Timbe said.
FC Platinum coach Mapeza did not dismiss the threat, saying anything in the game of football was possible and hence the need to guard against complacency.
He said tactical discipline had won the day for them as their hosts had piled a lot of pressure in the opening minutes of the game.
“They came at us in the opening 15 minutes and we were tactically disciplined and it was against the run of play that we found our goal,” said Mapeza.
Brian Muzondiwa put FC Platinum in the driving seat on 25 minutes, latching on to a long ball from Thabani Kamusoko and shrugged off the challenge of Wiluis Ouma whom he outpaced before slicing the ball under an advancing David Okello in goal for Sofapaka.
Johnson Bagole gave the visitors another scare on eight minutes shooting wide after finding cracks in the FC Platinum jittery centreback combination of Kelvin Moyo and Gift Bello.
In the 13th minute Kamusoko played Father Christmas when his intended back pass lacked speed, resulting in Fiston Abdoul heading over the bar after being set up by Enock Agwanda.
Wisdom Mutasa had his shot blocked in the 16th minute with the goalkeeper on the wrong side of action following a good run on the right by Walter Musona.
Then the Zimbabweans’ nerves were eased in the 25th minute following Muzondiwa’s goal.
Sofapaka refused to be silenced by the opener, coming close with a diving header from Agwanda which was saved by the impressive Petros Mhari.
The troublesome Agwanda came menacing again in the 37th minute but with Mhari narrowing the gap, the striker shot wide.
The next eight minutes of action of the first half saw a number of good build ups from the back which were however well dealt with by the two teams’ defences.
Soon after resumption FC Platinum could have scored goal number two but Musona shot over the target after being set up by impressive rightback Muduviwa.
Then came young Kelvin Moyo’s slip in the 47th minute which presented Sofapaka with the equalizer with Abdoul slotting in from inside the box.
But FC Platinum never gave up fighting despite that setback, with statistics proving that they were as hungry for a positive result as the hosts with a number of forays. The number of freekicks, offside decisions and corner kicks in the second stanza attested to their positive play.
Mhari was to come to the party in the 48th minute denying Abdoul from close range following a good pass on the right by Patrick Kagogo.
Another lapse in concentration by Kamusoko in the 60th minute nearly presented Sofapaka with another goal but Mhari turned hero.
Fifteen minutes before fulltime, the productive right wing engineered the winner. Muduviwa and Musona exchanged passes resulting in Knowledge Musona’s young brother lofting the ball past two defenders for a grateful Ngoma to strike a rising shot to leave the scoreline at 2-1.
Four minutes later Musona failed to do justice to a Muduviwa cross with a header that did not trouble Okello.
Muzondiwa came close to a brace, hitting the side netting in the 80th minute following a brilliant run on the right flank.
Mhari twice came to team’s salvation in the 82nd minute stopping a full bloodied shot by right back Batambuze Shafik from about 25m out.
If that save was brilliant then his clean catch of Agwanda’s header from three metres was world class.
In a post-match interview Mapeza acknowledged that the right flank had lived up to expectations. He said it was a tactic not to have Elvis Moyo moving forward a great deal as Muduviwa and Musona were productive all afternoon on the right.
“We’ve been preparing for four weeks, the guys in terms of fitness are not yet at a level where we would want them to be at,” said Mapeza.
A crowd of less than 120 fans witnessed the clash, among them Raila Odinga, the former Kenyan Prime Minister.
The second leg is due to be played in Zvishavane in two weeks’ time with the winner to face either Tanzania’s Young Africans or Botswana Defence Forces.
FC Platinum arrive in Harare this morning.
Sofapaka: D Okello, F Mulumba, M Odipo, B Shatif, E Ndolo, W Ouma, J Bagole, P Kagogo, (K Omondi 70th minute), D Kago, E Agwanda (J Baraza 87th minute), F Abdoul
FC Platinum: P Mhari, R Muduviwa, E Moyo, K Moyo, G Bello, T Kamusoko, W Mutasa (W Kamudyariwa 72nd minute), T Dzumbunu (S Shoko 76th minute), B Muzondiwa, W Musona, D Ngoma
Match Facts and Figures
SOFAPAKA 1-2 FC PLATINUM
5 SHOTS ON TARGET 4
5 SHOTS OFF TARGET 5
4 HEADERS ON TARGET 1
3 HEADERS OFF TARGET 1
10 CORNERS 7
7 FOULS 10
1 YELLOW CARDS nil
Nil RED CARDS nil