TITLE contenders FC Platinum missed an opportunity to go top of the log table for the first time after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Flame Lily at a bumpy Lafarge Stadium on Wednesday.
The draw left Norman Mapeza’s men still trailing leaders Chicken Inn who now have 55 points after they also drew against Tsholotsho with only two matches left in the campaign.
Pace winger Marshall Mudewe, put FC Platinum in the lead after 17 minutes when he powered a downward header beating goalkeeper Majarira Lloyd.
But FC Platinum famed for their passing game struggled for fluency on a bumpy Lafarge stadium and often resorting to pumping high balls while the home team appeared to be comfortable and threatened with some dangerous raids.
Earlier on, Kelvin Moyo had been forced to clear the ball out of danger after Moses Demera had unleashed a powerful shot.
In the second half, the visitors took the game to their opponents with Edwin Madhanhaga missing a headed opportunity on 48 minutes.
After 66 minutes, Motion Mponda missed another headed opportunity as the home team pressed for an equaliser.
It did come on 76 minutes – defender Brighton Chayambuka scoring a stunning free kick that beat goalkeeper Petros Mhari.
The goal gave them the confidence as they continued to launch wave after wave of attack in their opponents’ goal area.
However, FC Platinum remained resolute in defence until the referee blew to end the match.
Mapeza was happy with the point gained. He applauded his charges.
“I am happy with the point. It’s a good performance from the players, we knew it was going to be a difficult match and I will be stupid to complain after this draw.
“We have worked very hard to be where we are today and are happy with the boys except that we conceded a soft free kick,” said Mapeza.
He also complained about the condition of the pitch.
“I am not complaining about the pitch because we have drawn but who do you think can play football on a pitch like this,” said the coach.
“It’s for the PSL to comment about the pitches but this is not a good pitch to play football. We will not develop our football if we continue to play on a pitch like this.
“We enjoy to pass the ball around but we struggled. We are not worried about Chicken Inn. I have been in this situation before at Monomotapa, this a challenge any coach would want to face.Advertisement
“We have to stay focused as we meet Caps United in our next match at home. It’s a massive game and we have to stay focused.”
His counterpart Takesure Chiragwi was happy with the result but said they conceded a silly goal.
“I am happy with the result. We played well especially in the second half. We came back stronger and could have won the match with a bit of luck but that’s football.
“It two points dropped than one point gained because we wanted to collect all three points. We believe mathematically we can avoid relegation.
“We have to prepare for our next match. We believe we can get there,” he said.
Flame Lily took their points tally to 25 and can survive if they win their remaining matches of the campaign.