FC Platinum Hold Angola’s Sagrada Esperança

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By Sports Reporter

ZIMBABWE’S representatives in the CAF Champions League, FC Platinum kick-started their campaign to reach the group stages of the competition on a positive note after holding Angolan side Sagrada Esperança in the first leg of the preliminary round Saturday.

The Zvishavane-based club put on a good defensive effort despite finishing the match with 10 men after Kelvin Mangiza earned two second-half yellow cards in quick succession late in the game to ensure a nervy end to the match for the visitors.

FC Platinum were able to see off the later stages of the match to secure a draw which was an impressive result, considering the club has not been active since June as the country went on a Covid-19 induced lockdown resulting in another blanket ban on all sports.

The Norman Mapeza-coached side only got an exemption from the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) to start training three weeks ago but were not allowed to play any friendly matches.

In contrast, their Angolan opponents have been playing regular football despite the Covid-19-induced lockdowns since the Angolan league was functional.

After managing to hold their opponents to a draw in their own backyard, FC Platinum will be confident of finishing off the Angolans when the two teams clash in the second leg in Bulawayo next weekend.

If they win at home FC Platinum will go on to play the winner between Royal Leopards of Eswatini and ZESCO United from Zambia for a chance to progress to the Group stages of the competition.

The last time out FC Platinum failed to reach the group stages after they fell to Tanzanian champions Simba SC 4 – 1 on aggregate and their conquerors went on to reach the semi-finals of the competition.