Takudzwa Chitsiga Sports Reporter
Harare City . . . . . . . . . . . . (0) 1
FC Platinum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
NORMAN Mapeza insisted that there was no need to panic after FC Platinum stumbled to their third Castle Lager Premier Soccer League defeat following a 1-0 loss to Harare City at Rufaro yesterday. The champions saw their lead at the top cut to a single point after a Moses Muchenje solitary strike gave Harare City victory on the same day that their nearest rivals Ngezi Platinum were more ruthless destroying ailing Shabanie Mine 5-1 at the Baobab.
Mapeza believes they have a chance to win the championship title again, but warned that they would have to collect maximum points from their remaining matches.
The former Warriors coach also acknowledged that Harare City had been the better side on the day.
“We were poor in the second half and we conceded a penalty after a poor decision by our defender. We had a good first half, but it’s part of football and we will try and bounce back.
“We are still in there and if we can win all our remaining matches we can take the league with the single point so there is nothing much to think of on the championship.
“It is part of the game and it’s bound to happen.
“We need to remain focused and see off our games as they come,” said Mapeza.
Harare City coach Mark Harrison who had seen his team fail to win in their last five games was a relieved man and said his players had heeded the call to remain focussed.
“I am happy for the team and collecting maximum points is crucial for us. The win is important for us as we got back on track after five attempts we finally come up with an answer.
“We showed them how football is played by keeping in shape and it was good to win against the best team in the league.
“There was a lot of pressure on the boys and I think we can now start to move forward,” said Harrison.
Yet Harare City seemed to lack adventure in the opening stages and were content with defending deep.
The hosts only managed two shots on target in the first half while on the other end FC Platinum forwards were threatening Maxwell Nyamupanedengu’s goal.
The champions had a good chance in the 41st minute when Gift Mbweti and reigning Soccer Star of the Year Rodwell Chinyengetere combined well, but the latter shot weakly towards goal.
Harare City, however, turned the game around three minutes into the second period when Muchenje struck.
Speedy striker Martin Vengesai won possession and raced into the box only to be tripped by FC Platinum defender resulting in a penalty.
Muchenje, lively in midfield for the Sunshine Boys took the responsibility and sent FC Platinum goalkeeper Wallace Magalane the wrong way.
In the 71st minute, FC Platinum thought they had won a penalty of their own when Munyaradzi Diro-Nyenye appeared to have handled, but the referee waved play on.
Harrison’s bold move to send younger players while keeping veterans, Tendai Samanja, Tatenda Tumba, Kuda Musharu and William Manondo on the bench.
Yesterday’s victory was Harare City’s first over their opponents since 2016.
Harare City: M. Nyamupanedengu, H. Chapusha, T. Chimwemwe, M. Muchenje, M. Diro-Nyenye, B. Chayambuka (K. Musharu 84 mins), L. Muyambo, T. Pio, I. Wadi, W. Muwirimi (D. Chimwemwe 69 min), M. Vengesai (T. Samanja 80).
FC Platinum: W. Magalane, R. Muduviwa, G. Bello, K. Moyo, W. Stima, W. Mhango, K. Madzongwe (N. Tigere 68 mins), R. Chinyengetere, F. Madhanhanga, A. Eonde (F. Mupasiri 50 mins), G. Mbweti.