Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
CHAMPIONS FC Platinum continued their dominance over title contenders Chicken Inn, thumping them 3-0 at Luveve Stadium on Saturday, as the Gamecocks failed to end a seven-year winless jinx at home against the Zvishavane side.
FC Platinum stretched their dominance over Chicken Inn in Bulawayo to six consecutive games.
The Zvishavane outfit has been so good that they have scored 15 goals in their last six games and kept clean sheets, as they wrested control of the championship destination.
A brace by Walter Musona and wonder Juan Mutudza’s strike powered the champions to a crucial victory, which saw them dethroning Chicken Inn from the top of the table with 40 points after 19 matches.
Chicken Inn had gone into the weekend’s encounter enjoying a point’s lead over FC Platinum, but they now trail by two points.
The Gamecocks last beat FC Platinum in Bulawayo on November 3, 2013, when they won 2-0, but paid dearly for costly first-half mistakes on Sunday.
This means that Chicken Inn, who have hosted FC Platinum seven times in Bulawayo, have only won twice.
They’ll now be hoping that other teams do them a favour by disturbing FC Platinum, while they pick themselves up and win their games if they still harbour title ambitions.
FC Platinum, who had a slow start as they built their squad, have been progressing well and their players showed hunger for success against the Gamecocks, pressing the hosts with teenage sensation Thandolwenkosi Ngwenya keeping the ageing defensive pair of Moses Jackson and Guide Goddard on their toes.
Musona showed class with perfect timings, while Mutudza and Brian Banda bossed the midfield.
FC Platinum cut Chicken Inn’s supply line to leading goal scorer with 10 goals, Brian Muza.
The visitors also immobilised Chicken Inn’s midfield of Sheppard Mhlanga, Brett Amidu and Michael Charamba.
While FC Platinum celebrated maximum points and Chicken Inn were left in despair, third-placed Dynamos failed to close the gap, as they were held to a goalless draw by Triangle United.
Fourth-placed Manica Diamonds suffered a shock home defeat to Bulawayo City 0-1.
It was a big win for City, who went into the game smarting from a 3-0 home defeat to Ngezi Platinum Stars.
Ngezi remained glued on in sixth place with 29 points after playing to a 1-1 draw against Highlanders at Baobab Stadium.
It has been a perfect start for Highlanders’ coach Baltemar, who has collected four points from his two starts.
However, Bosso have failed to collect maximum points in the last 30 matches outside Bulawayo.
Thanks to a beautiful curler from their player of the moment Godfrey Makaruse, Bosso escaped from the jaws of defeat against Ngezi.
The draw saw Highlanders slipping a place down the table to eighth with 27 points.
Brito complained that the watery and muddy Ngezi pitch made it difficult for his charges to enjoy their passing game, but proved his tactical astuteness when he introduced Adrian Silla for Muziwakhe Dhlamini, who struggled with his game.
Silla’s introduction saw Bosso dominate the midfield.
At the tail end of the table, anchors Whawha won the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service battle by dismissing their Mutare-based colleagues Tenax 2-0 in Gweru to take their points’ tally to 15.
Tenax and City are three points away from safety and the weekend victories were confidence boosters for the two sides.
Matchday 19 results and table
Saturday: ZPC Kariba 0-1 Yadah, Black Rhinos 2-1 Herentals, Harare City 1-2 Caps United, Chicken Inn 0-3 FC Platinum
Sunday: Ngezi Platinum Stars 1-1 Highlanders, Dynamos 0-0 Triangle United, Bulawayo Chiefs 0-1 Cranborne Bullets, Manica Diamonds 0-1 Bulawayo City, Whawha 2-0 Tenax CS FC