Tadious Manyepo, Harare Bureau
Herentals 0-2 FC Platinum
FC PLATINUM were not at their fluid best but still managed to bulldoze their way back to the top of the Castle Lager Premiership football table with this scrappy win at the National Sports Stadium yesterday.
The Zvishavane-based miners struggled to assert themselves in this encounter which, on any other day, would have been won comprehensively by the hosts, leaving their coach Norman Mapeza in huge doubt over their ability to win the championship for a third season running.
Goals in either half by Albert Eonde and substitute Rodwell Chinyengetere ensured maximum points for FC Platinum.
They took their tally to 39 points, same as ZPC Kariba, but they have a superior goal difference.
Missing about 10 of his regular players, Mapeza was forced to throw several green horns in the deep end but despite their nervousness, they proved their mettle.
Having gone for three games without a win, FC Platinum desperately needed to win this one and Mapeza was briefly relieved but admitted his side is short on depth.
“Look, I have to be honest. For us to really push for the championship, looking at where we are, we don’t have depth.
“We don’t have depth at all, if you guys can’t see that, then well I don’t know. We have to work and see how the season progresses,” said Mapeza.
“It was about results today. We were missing about 10 of our regular players through injuries, suspensions and national team duties.
“Credit to the boys who worked so hard.
“We are struggling to be honest but to be able to get three points away from home is something commendable.
“We actually had three guys from our Under-19s in today’s game. I am someone who believes in these youngsters . . .”
The hosts Herentals, in a precarious position, would have picked up a point in this match or better still a victory but they failed to put together the basics in all aspects of the game.
They were lapse in their defending, fragile in midfield and blunt in attack.
With barely a quarter of an hour into the match, Eonde connected with his left foot which carried a deflection for the visitors’ opener.
Innocent Benza and Blessing Majarira both came closer to level matters at the opposite end but FC Platinum goalkeeper, Petros Mhari, stood firm.
Herentals took total control of the match on resumption and should have scored at least twice had they been clinical in front of goal.
But it was the guests who stretched their advantage with 20 minutes on the clock after Rodwell Chinyengetere rose firmly to plant home a header off a corner past Frank Kuchineyi, in goals for Herentals.
Herentals coach, Kumbirai Mutiwekuziva, was left a disappointed lot after seeing his charges lose their second game on the trot.
“We did almost everything in this game except scoring. This is what we normally do, failing to convert chances which come our way,” said Mutiwekuziva.
“We got punished because of that as FC Platinum just utilised their chances which came through set-plays. We are not in a good position on the log and we ought to improve especially our strike force as well as our defending of aerial balls.”
Herentals: F Kuchinei, B Maunganidze (T Nasama 65th min), G Chinobva, B Majarira, W Chimbetu, B Majarira (T Chitukutuku 75th min), I Benza, A Majarira P Chota, A Chipondeni (R Chishaya 75th min)
Platinum: P Mhari, R Muduviwa, K Madzongwe, K Mangiza, D Chafa, N Tigere (M Dube 89th min), P Mutimbanyoka (C Sibanda 52nd min), K Madera, A Eonde (R Chinyengetere 69th min)