By Sports Reporter
FC Platinum (1) 1
Simba Stars (0) 0
FC PLATINUM’S hopes of progressing to the lucrative group stages of the CAF Champions League remain intact after midfielder Perfect Chikwende gave the Zimbabwe champions a slender 1-0 lead in the first leg of the tournament qualifiers against Tanzanian giants Simba Stars at the National Sports Stadium on Wednesday.
Chikwende fired home the only goal of the match with a clinical strike from inside the box after a mazy run in midfield to hand Norman Mapeza’s charges the advantage ahead of the second leg encounter in Tanzania on January 6.
The Zvishavane side went into the match as underdogs as they faced a Tanzanian side which boasts of a richer history in Africa’s biggest inter-club competition.
Simba also had the advantage of having played more matches than its Zimbabwean counterpart as the Tanzanian domestic league is currently in progress while the local topflight league never kicked off during the length of the country’s Covid-19 induced lockdown period.
However, all that counted for nothing – at least for now – as FC Platinum took the game to their more fancied opponents right from the onset before grabbing the crucial early goal which ultimately proved decisive on the afternoon.
FC Platinum could have won the encounter by a bigger margin but failed to utilise their chances especially in the second half.
Chikwende shot straight at the Simba Stars goalkeeper after racing clear midway in the second half while Brian Banda also had a good opportunity to score the cushion goal, but his shot was tipped over the bar by Aishi Manula in goal for the visitors.
Simba Stars striker Jonas Mkunde had an opportunity to salvage a draw for the Tanzanian side but headed his effort wide of goal from close range deep in added time as FC Platinum held on for a crucial win.