By Sports Reporter
FC PLATINUM coach Norman Mapeza is optimistic about his team’s chances in the knockout stages of the Chibuku Super Cup after his team secured the top spot in Group 4 with a 2-1 win over rivals Ngezi Platinum in the platinum derby at Mandava Stadium Saturday.
After a goalless first half, FC Platinum took the lead just five minutes after the restart through a header by Innocent Muchaneka from Panashe Mutimbanyoka’s cross.
Ngezi responded in the 75th minute when FC Platinum defender Lawrence Mhlanga was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box.
Nigel Makumbe took the responsibility for the spot-kick but his effort was saved back into play by goalie Petros Mhari, allowing Bruno Mtigo to score on the rebound.
FC Platinum kept pushing for the winner and were finally rewarded five minutes from full-time when Rainsome Pavari rose highest to head home Donald Teguru’s cross from a free-kick.
The result meant FC Platinum progressed to the quarterfinals as group winners on goal difference after both teams had finished tied at the top on 13 points with Ngezi settling for the second quarterfinal slot as runner-ups.
Coach Mapeza was elated by the result, especially that his men managed to revenge after losing the first leg on a similar scoreline.
“I wouldn’t want to call it revenge, it was just a game of football and I am happy that my players are responding to the training and instructions,” Mapeza said.
“I am happy that we are creating opportunities and converting them at the same time. It only shows that we are moving in the right direction and we are now going to wait and see how it plays out in the next round,” Mapeza said.
Meanwhile, Bulawayo Chiefs came from a goal down to salvage a point against Chicken Inn at Babourfields Stadium.
The Gamecocks, who have already qualified for the quarterfinals from Group 2 together with Highlanders, took the lead in the 17th minute after Brian Muza was set up by skipper Moses Jackson in the box.
Chiefs came back from the halftime break a rejuvenated side, resulting in their skipper Malvin Mkolo levelling the score with a header.
Elsewhere, Black Rhinos booked their place in the knockout stage following their 1-1 draw against Manica Diamonds. They join Cranbourne Bullets as the two teams progressing from Group 3.
At National Sports Stadium, ZPC Kariba edged Yadah 1-0, courtesy of a third-minute penalty by Moses Demera.
Chibuku Super Cup results and fixtures
Saturday: ZPC Kariba 1-0 Yadah FC, Ngezi Platinum 1 – 2 FC Platinum, Black Rhinos 1-1 Manica Diamonds, Tenax 0-1 Cranbourne Bullets, Chicken Inn 1-1 Bulawayo Chiefs
Sunday: Triangle United v WhaWha (Mandava, 11 pm), Bulawayo City v Highlanders (Barbourfields, 1 pm).