By Ricky Zililo
Castle Lager Premier Soccer League newboys TelOne put up a disciplined performance to hand defending champions FC Platinum their first defeat of the season at Luveve Stadium yesterday.
Elasto Chigora’s 58th minute headed goal following a quick break was enough for the Gweru-based side to earn their second victory of the season and move three places up the table into 10th place.
The defeat saw FC Platinum surrendering top spot to Caps United, who beat Triangle United 2-1 at Gibbo Stadium to take their unbeaten run to six games. FC Platinum are now fourth on the league table with 14 points, two behind Caps United.
TelOne coach Jairos Tapera described yesterday’s victory as their biggest win so far.
“This is our biggest win, playing against reigning champions and grinding a result is magnificent. It was teamwork that pushed us through and the players maintained our strategy, which was to close all the pockets FC Platinum tried to open. We had to be tactically disciplined because I know FC Platinum can hit you if you open up,” said Tapera.
TelOne allowed FC Platinum to have the ball and defended well for the entire game and sought to hit the champions on quick breaks.
With a bit of luck, TelOne should have won by a three-goal margin, but FC Platinum goalkeeper Petros Mhari did well to save Jacob Muzokomba’s ferocious shots following quick breaks in the 47th and 90th minute.
The defending champions had themselves to blame for the defeat as defender Kevin Moyo missed a penalty in the 51st minute after referee Hardly Ndazi awarded FC Platinum a “suspicious” spot kick after adjudging that TelOne left-back Tawana Chikore had brought down Gift Mbweti.
TelOne goalkeeper Raphael Pitisi dived to his right to save the spot kick.
Ndazi turned down a penalty appeal by FC Platinum when Innocent Zambezi hacked down Mbweti inside the box in the 32nd minute.
FC Platinum hardly troubled TelOne’s goalkeeper as the Gweru side prevented the champions from getting into the box.
FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza said: “TelOne played very well. Losing is part of football but we’re not going to lose hope because it’s too early in the season. We struggled in the final third.”
TelOne: Raphael Pitisi, Trust Nyabinde, Tawana Chikore, Innocent Zambezi, Frnkson Bushiri, Tatenda Hapazari, Emmanuel Mandiranga (Fortune Nkala, 89th minute), James Jam, Emmanuel Zinyama, Elasto Chigora (Blessing Sibanda, 66th minute), Jacob Muzokomba
FC Platinum: Petros Mhari, Lawrence Mhlanga (Godknows Murwira, 69th minute), Gift Bello, Kevin Moyo, Elvis Moyo, Kelvin Madzongwe, Rainsome Pavari (Albert Eonde, 61st minute), Farai Madhananga, Charles Sibanda (Ali Sadiki, 61st minute), Gift Mbweti, Perfect Chikwende
Match Day Seven results
Saturday: Harare City 0-0 Bulawayo Chiefs, Mushowani Stars 2-0 Black Rhinos, Chicken Inn 3-0 Highlanders, ZPC Kariba 1-0 Ngezi Platinum Stars
Yesterday: Triangle United 1-2 Caps United, Herentals 0-1 Manica Diamonds, Yadah 0-1 Dynamos, TelOne 1-0 FC Platinum, Hwange 0-1 Chapungu. The Chronicle