By Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWEAN champions FC Platinum’s hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the CAF Champions League suffered a major blow after suffering a 1-0 home defeat to Group B rivals Horoya AC from Guinea at Barbourfields Stadium Saturday.
The result left FC Platinum bottom of the group with a single point from three matches while Horoya climbed up to the third spot on the group standings on four points.
Group opponents Orlando Pirates and Esperance played out to a goalles draw.
After failing to score a goal in their first two matches, FC Platinum were desperate to put up an attacking display at home and they pushed for an early goal with Kelvin Madzongwe looking lively in the middle of the park
However, the visitors were solid and compact at the back rest forcing FC Platinum try their luck from range.
Madzongwe unleashed two long-range shots which missed the target as the visitors frustrated the Platinum Boys attackers.
Horoya were able to contain Platinum until Algerian match referee Mustapha Ghorbal blew the half-time whistle.
After looking the more dangerous side going forward Horoya were awarded a penalty a few minutes after the restart when Platinum goalkeeper Petros Mhari hacked down an advancing Mandela Ocansey inside the penalty box.
Marius Assoko then stepped up and beat Platinum goalkeeper Petros Mhari to make it 1-0 to Horoya in the 51st minute.
FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza introduced Lameck Nhamo upfront while dropping the initial lone striker Charles Sibanda to the midfield before replacing an out of sorts Gift Mbweti with Ali Sadiki in search of an elusive goal.
The hosts had a late opportunity to level matters right at the death but substitute Albert Eonde missed a sitter and Horoya secured a 1-0 victory over Platinum in Bulawayo.
FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza admitted his side now faces an uphill task to progress to the last eight after wasting an opportunity to collect maximum points at home.
“I would like to congratulate my colleague (Patrice Neveu) for winning the match. We were not ourselves today and we conceded from a penalty which I think was too harsh on our part, but it’s part of the game. It’s now a big mountain for us to climb. We just have to push hard and see what happens,” Mapeza said.
Mapeza added: “We wanted to win the game. There is no way were going to sit and defend. Mathematically we might be out but for us it’s about the experience and we will keep on working hard and see how it goes.”