CHAMPIONS FC Platinum picked a precious away goal in Madagascar after a hard-fought draw against hosts CNaPS in a Caf Champions League preliminary first leg match at the Centre des Loisirs de la CNaPs in Antananarivo yesterday.
BY SPORTS REPORTER
Midfielder Farai Madhananga got the crucial goal on 70 minutes, which could prove valuable when the two teams meet in the return leg at Mandava Stadium in Zvishavane next week.
The hosts had drawn first blood through a penalty kick early on 63rd minute, converted by Andoniaina Andrianavalona, after Kelvin Moyo had been adjudged to have brought down Lalaina Manampisoa inside the box.
Moyo’s twin Elvis made amends for his brother’s earlier mistake when he provided the assist for the equaliser, his cross finding Madhananga who controlled well before hitting a powerful shot that gave the opposition goalkeeper no chance.
The visitors appeared to struggle on the artificial turf and they would be happy to come out with a draw, which they would be looking to build on next week as they bid to make an impression in this year’s tournament.
A goalless draw will see the platinum miners through to the first round, although Mapeza, who employed a defensive formation with a five men defence yesterday, is likely to go for the jugular at home.
Mapeza was left satisfied with a draw. “Going back home with a draw is a positive result and a massive achievement for the club. Well done to the boys, they did well, but it is still game on and we need to work hard,” Mapeza said.
FC Platinum, who have dominated the local league in the past two seasons, are desperate to make a mark in Africa.
In all their previous African safari appearances, the miners have been at the receiving end of the competition, the latest being their humiliating 5-1 defeat at the hands of Premiero Agosto of Angola early this year — a team they are likely to meet in the first round.
In 2012, then under Rahman Gumbo, they were given a reality check in the demanding continental club football after completing back-to-back defeats at the hands of Sudanese giants El Merrikh.