By Sports Reporter
HARARE giants CAPS United’s title charge suffered a major blow after succumbing to a 1-0 defeat at ZPC Kariba while champions FC Platinum overcame the absence of several players to grind out an important 1-0 victory against Manica Diamonds at Mandava Stadium on Sunday.
Makepekepe, who have now failed to register a win in their last four matches, fell courtesy of a 67th minute goal by Nigel Makumbe as alarm bells must now be ringing in the Harare giants’ camp after a promising start to the season.
The defeat meant they are now four points behind long leaders and defending champions FC Platinum, who secured all three points courtesy of a solitary goal by Cameroonian Albert Eonde.
The Norman Mapeza coached side was missing the services of several players due to a combination of injuries and other factors.
The likes of Raphael Muduviwa, Ali Sadiki and William Stima are nursing injuries while the Moyo twins, Kelvin and Elvis are reportedly away on trials at South African side Chippa United.
Veteran forward Mkhokeli Dube was also not available. So was Lawrence Mhlanga who was suspended while Godknows Murwira, who is being linked with a return to Dynamos, has reportedly gone AWOL.
FC Platinum however provided a timely reminder of their intentions to secure a third successive PSL title after Eonde expertly headed home Gift Mbweti’s cross after 10 minutes for the lone goal of the match.
Mapeza was full of praise for his team after the match.
“Today we did not have numbers but before the game, I told my players that today is not about our technical abilities but it’s about our hearts,” he said.
“It’s indeed a massive result for us, the boys played well. There was coherence between the midfield and defence. Lameck Nhamo worked very hard and I really want to applaud everyone for a brave show today,” Mapeza said.
Manica Diamonds coach Luke Masomere was disappointed with the loss.
“I am disappointed with the result but there are a number of contributing factors to this loss which I would not want to talk about today,” said Masomere.
Meanwhile, Highlanders played out to a one-all draw away to Ngezi Platinum Stars at Baobab Stadium as they begin life without Madinda Ndlovu who has since left for Botswana.
The Bulawayo giants managed top hold the 2018 PSL runners-up even after finding themselves reduced to 10 men when Andrew Mbeba was shown a red card for a crude challenge on an opponent just eight minutes into the encounter.
After threatening to score on several occasions in the first half, Ngezi were punished for the missed opportunities when Peter Muduhwa put Bosso into the lead in the 70th minute.
Their lead however did not last long as Ngezi restored parity nine minutes later through an Osi Miniru’s effort.
Elsewhere, Chicken Inn remained second on the log standings after beating Mushowani Stars 3-1 at Luveve Stadium.
The league’s top scorer Clive Agosto grabbed a brace with Sipho Ndlovu scoring the other goal for the Gamecocks, who remain a point behind FC Platinum on 26 points from 13 matches.
Mushowani got their consolation on the stroke of full-time through Evans Katema.
Agosto’s brace yesterday took his tally of the season to 13 goals from as many matches as he looked well poised to clinch the Golden Boot award at the end of the season.
In another match, Herentals lost 2-0 at home to Triangle United at the National Sports Stadium while Black Rhinos and Yadah FC settled for a goalless draw at Rufaro.
Castle Lager Premier Soccer League results and fixtures
Saturday: Ngezi Platinum Stars 1-1 Highlanders, ZPC Kariba 1-0 CAPS United, FC Platinum 1-0 Manica Diamonds, Chicken Inn 3-1 Mushowani Stars, Yadah FC 0-0 Black Rhinos, Herentals 0-2 Triangle United
Sunday: Hwange v Bulawayo Chiefs (Colliery), TelOne v Harare City (Luveve), Dynamos v Chapungu (Rufaro)