By Sports Reporter
TWO quick goals in as many minutes from Cameroonian forward Albert Eonde and a late free-kick by Never Tigere earned FC Platinum a 3-0 win over Bulawayo Chiefs at Luveve Stadium to return them to the top of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League on Saturday at least until the leading pack plays Sunday.
FC Platinum now lead CAPS United and Chicken Inn by two points before the duo locked at the top play Sunday.
The champions went ahead two minutes into the second half after Chiefs’ goalkeeper David Bizabani made a schoolboy error by failing to make a routine clearance from a back-pass which allowed Eonde to open the scoring.
Bizabani inexplicably made the same blunder a minute later after attempting to dribble past Eonde, who won possession before completing his brace.
Bottom paced Bulawayo Chiefs had a chance to get back into the game in the 68th minute after being awarded a penalty when FC Platinum defender was adjudged to have handled inside the box.
The hosts however failed to make use of the golden opportunity after Arthur Masiyiwa’s spot kick was saved by FC Platinum’s goalkeeper Francis Tizayi.
FC Platinum had to finish the match with 10 men after substitute Lawrence Mhlanga was shown a red card for a second-bookable by referee Hardley Ndazi for time-wasting.
The platinum miners however still managed to score a third and seal an emphatic win after Tigere, who had been introduced in added time struck the third with his first touch from a well taken free-kick.
The win took FC Platinum’s tally to 24 points from 12 matches, two clear of CAPS United and Chicken Inn, who will both be in action on Sunday against TelOne and Triangle respectively.
FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza, who early this week expressed concern with his strikers was however not pleased with the team’s performance despite the win.
“In the first half there was nothing to talk about. Those two mistakes put us back into the game. Maybe had it not been for the goalkeeper we were not going to score. There wasn’t creativity in the final third. No one is willing to take the risks and I am really worried about it,” Mapeza said.
At Rufaro Stadium, Kwekwe referee Thabani Bamala hogged the limelight for all the wrong reasons after making a series of controversial decisions as Herentals bounced back from a goal down to beat Harare City 2-1.
A debut goal by Ashwin Chihowa had given Harare City a lead within 10 minutes before Juan Mutudza immediately levelled matters for Herentals five minutes later.
The match referee however spoiled an otherwise entertaining clash with a controversial call early in the second half after adjudging that Takudzwa Chimwemwe had handled in the box when the player appeared to control the ball with his chest.
Captain Blessing Majarira converted the resultant spot kick which turned out to be the winner.
Across the city at National Sports Stadium, Black Rhinos and ZPC Kariba played to a goalless draw while at Mandava Stadium, veteran forward Ralph Matema scored a delightful match-winner as Yadah FC moved out of the relegation zone after beating Chapungu 2-1.
Yadah moved up the ladder to 14th place with the win while Herentals jumped to 10th place as the season heads for a two- week break to pave way for the Africa Cup of Nations finals.
Castle Lager Premier Soccer League results and fixtures
Saturday: Chapungu 1-2 Yadah FC, Bulawayo Chiefs 0-3 FC Platinum, Harare City 1-2 Herentals, Black Rhinos 0-0 ZPC Kariba
Sunday: CAPS United v TelOne (National Sports Stadium), Triangle United v Chicken Inn (Gibbo), Mushowani Stars v Hwange (Rufaro), Highlanders v Dynamos (Barbourfields), Manica Diamonds v Ngezi Platinum Stars (Vengere)