By Sports Reporter
CAPS United lost top spot at the top of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League log following a 3-2 defeat to Ngezi Platinum Stars at Baobab.
Makepekepe chose the wrong time to lose a penultimate match as FC Platinum took the opportunity with both hands to seize control of the title race with a 1-0 victory over Black Rhinos in matches played on Wednesday.
Qadr Amini scored a brace to add to Marlon Mushonga’s own goal before Makepekepe tried to launch a late comeback in the last six minutes of the game through goals from Dominic Chungwa and Newman Sianchali.
In the end, CAPS United suffered a morale shattering defeat which saw them drop to number two ahead of Saturday’s winner takes all match against FC Platinum at the National Sports Stadium.
FC Platinum won 1-0 against Black Rhinos at Mandava, courtesy of a contentious penalty by Devon Chafa on 63 minutes after Melvin Mekiwa was adjudged to have handled in the penalty box.
Rhinos’ players and officials protested the decision with their fitness trainer allegedly manhandling FC Platinum goalkeepers coach Daniel Khumalo in the ensuing melee which lasted six minutes as tempers flared.
Chafa however held his nerve to convert the spot kick.
The army side were awarded a penalty of their own after Gift Bello handled the ball in the box but Moses Demera’s effort crashed against the upright on 77 minutes as FC Platinum held on for a precious win.
The major highlight of the day was however CAPS United’s defeat against a stubborn Ngezi side.
CAPS United found themselves facing an uphill task early on as Ngezi opened the deadlock just 18 minutes into the encounter after Amini tapped home a square ball from James Ngulube.
It was all Ngezi in the first half as the visitors played second fiddle in midfield with newly crowned Soccer Star of the Year Joel Ngodzo struggling to impose himself as he has done for most of the current season.
The hosts could have gone to the break leading by atleast two goals with Donald Teguru and Ngulube proving a handful for the CAPS defence.
After a difficult first half, Makepekepe almost gave themselves a lifeline soon after the restart but the usually dependable striker Sianchali missed a sitter three minutes in the second half.
CAPS United were made to rue the missed opportunity as Amini scored his second for Ngezi with another routine tap in from a Teguru cross after 52 minutes.
CAPS United defender Spencer Masunda’s own goal seven minutes from fulltime gifted Ngezi third goal of the match before Chungwa and Sianchali’s late goals in the last four minutes were just scant consolation.
Darlington Dodo’s men will have plenty to ponder ahead of the final day when they need nothing short of a victory against FC Platinum to clinch the Premier League title.
In the other match played at the National Sports Stadium, Chicken Inn kept their slim hopes of clinching the title alive after beating Herentals 2-0.
Innocent Muchaneka and Valentine Kadonzvo scored in either half to secure the victory.
Joey Antipas’ charges will have a chance to win the PSL title if CAPS United and FC Platinum draw in their last game while they beat TelOne at BF.
At Barbourfields, Hendrik Pieter de Jongh suffered his first loss as Highlanders coach after losing 1-0 to Bulawayo Chiefs.
The Dutchman was unbeaten since taking over in late September but the run was brought to an end by Isaac Badu’s solitary goal of the match which boosted Chiefs’survival chances.
Meanwhile, Hwange were relegated from the Premiership after playing to a 1-1 draw against TelOne while Harare giants Dynamos lost 3-1 to Harare City at Rufaro.
ZPC Kariba suffered their first defeat at Nyamhunga this season after a 2-1 loss to already relegated Mushowani Stars.
PSL Match Day 33 Results
Tuesday: Yadah 1-0 Triangle United
Wednesday: Highlanders 0-1 Bulawayo Chiefs; Manica Diamonds 2-0 Chapungu; FC Platinum 1-0 Black Rhinos; Ngezi Platinum 3-2 CAPS United; Dynamos 1-3 Harare City; ZPC Kariba 1-2 Mushowani Stars; Tel One 1-1 Hwange; Herentals 3-0 Chicken Inn
PSL Match Day 34 Fixtures
Saturday: Bulawayo Chiefs v Herentals (Luveve), Chicken Inn v TelOne (Barbourfields), Hwange v ZPC Kariba (Colliery), Mushowani Stars v Yadah (Trojan), Triangle United v Dynamos (Gibbo), Harare City v Ngezi Platinum Stars (Rufaro), CAPS United v FC Platinum (Mandava), Chapungu v Highlanders (Ascot), Sunday: Black Rhinos v Manica Diamonds (NSS)