Mukudzei Chingwere Sports Reporter
FC Platinum …………….. (1) (2)
Triangle United …………….. 0
PREMIERSHIP champions FC Platinum completed a league and cup double when they overcame Triangle in the Castle Challenge Cup at Mandava yesterday that provided a fine warm-up to their upcoming clash against CNaPS of Madagascar.
FC Platinum will hosts CNaPS in a Champions League preliminary round, second leg tie at Mandava on Wednesday.
But they had domestic duties to take care of first and close their season in style.
Despite making eight changes to their side, the league champions won the day through goals by forwards Gift Mbweti and Thomas Chideu who scored in either half and ensure they win this cup for the second year running.
Last year FC Platinum beat Harare City to claim the same cup.
This cup has been modelled to bring the curtain down on the Premiership season and yesterday’s game was an exhibition of two of the best teams this year.
FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza had one eye on the Champions League assignment and rested eight of the players who started the game in Madagascar including skipper Petros Mhari.
But FC Platinum suffered a setback when Warriors defender Kelvin Moyo was forced to prematurely leave the action injured and immediately casting doubts over his availability for Wednesday’s match against the Indian Ocean islanders.
Moyo, however, remained confident that he could recover on time to play a part in the reverse fixture against CNaPS.
“It is a tight muscle, but I do not think it is really that bad, I think I will be available for selection in the next three days. I felt some discomfort when I stretched to clear the ball and at that point it was difficult to continue with the game, but now I am not in a big discomfort.
“I think tomorrow I will have a clear picture if I will be able to play a part or not, but hopefully I will be ready and I will also work hard to be available for selection,” said Moyo.
Triangle quickly settled in the match and as early as the sixth minute Collin Dhuwa should have at least hit the target, but his header was over the bar after a brilliant feed by Russel Madamombe.
Two minutes later the miners surged ahead, William Sitima’s swerving free-kick deceived Tapiwa Chilenga in goal for the sugar cane growers and Mbweti directed it home.
After a quarter of an hour of action FC Platinum were threatening to runaway with it, but an unmarked Chideu failed to beat Chilenga at his near post.
On the opposite end coach Taurai Mangwiro’s men were refusing to be cowed into submission and Donald Dzvinyai tried from range with a powerful drive, but his effort crashed against the upright. Phineas Bamusi’s effort was also inches over the bar.
Speedster Marshall Mudehwe left the opposition defence for dead, but lacked composure to slot home past an exposed Chilenga, blazing the effort over.
Ten minutes before the breather Ralph Kawondera tested the resolve of Francis Tizayi in goal for FC Platinum with a well-placed shot, but the goalkeeper put a strong hand behind it.
Four minutes into the second half, the hosts got the insurance goal they needed when Chideu showed predatory instincts, running clear to an open space before firing a low shot to the far post beating an exposed Chilenga.
Mangwiro congratulated his opponents for their victory and bemoaned missed chances for their defeat.
“Allow me to congratulate our opponent for the victory and for winning the league as well as winning the challenge cup.
“The difference I think it was in conversion, FC Platinum took their chances, we created chances, but failed to convert them, we also hit the crossbar on three occasions at the end of the day those chances will be a tough ask for you,” said Mangwiro.
FC Platinum: F. Tizayi, J. Mukombwe, L. Mhlanga, K. Moyo (C. Sibanda. 69th min), W. Sitima, K. Madzongwe, D. Chafa (M. Dube, 90th min), N, Tigere (F, Madhanhanga, 75th min), M. Mudehwe, T. Chideu, G. Mbweti
Triangle United: T. Chilenga, T. Mugoniwa (A. Chivandire, 66th min), A, Chiveya, D, Dzvinyai, R, Kawondera, K, Chigwida, T, Huwa (P. Manhanga, 46th min), R. Madamombe, P. Bamusi, C. Dhuwa, S. Makoni (L. Nhamo, 51st min)