GD Sagrada Esperanca………………0
(GD Sagrada Esperanca win 5-4 on penalties)
VETERAN forward Rodwell Chinyengetere missed a penalty in the shootout as FC Platinum stumbled once again on the big stage and crashed out of the CAF Champions League in the preliminary round at the National Sports Stadium yesterday.
However, FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza says he is proud of his charges and believes his players punched above their weight given that there has been no Premiership football in the country for over 20 months due to Covid-19.
On the other hand, GD Sagrada lead the Angolan top-flight league with 70 points from 30 matches.
It had to take penalties to decide the winner in yesterday’s battle after the two sides remained deadlocked at 0-0.
They also drew by the same scoreline in the reverse fixture in Luanda last weekend.
Chinyengetere’s opening kick was saved by GD Sagrada’s gangly keeper Landu Langala, before the Angolans converted all their spot-kicks.
Gift Mbweti, Nomore Chinyerere, Donald Dzvinyai and Blessing Moyo fired home their penalties.
Mapeza bemoaned the lack of sharpness on the part of his players but praised them for their resilience.
FC Platinum’s best chance of the game came in the 89th minute when Chinyengetere, who had been played through by substitute Donald Ngoma, failed to beat Langala from a one-on-one situation.
Langala made a double save to deny Chinyengetere from close range.
The forward could have thrust the hosts into the lead after 34 minutes but he directed a free header wide, off a beautiful cross from Panashe Mutimbanyoka.
A minute later, Moyo hit the crossbar after some fine interplay that was initiated by Chinyengetere on the edge of the box.
The Angolans had their own chance soon after the restart when Simone Assa Miranda’s audacious kick missed the target by a few inches.
“We had opportunities especially in the first half and in the last minutes of the game but we failed to convert our chances,” said Mapeza.
“But, today it was much better than what we did in Angola; we never had any chances in Angola but today there was a little bit of creativity.
“You can see the majority of these guys are still new, so there is still a bit of time to work, then we can improve.”
Some of the new faces at FC Platinum include former Dynamos star Moyo, ex-Hwange player Chinyerere and Dzvinyai, who joined the side in January 2020.
Speedy winger Donald Teguru, who was introduced for Mutimbanyoka in the second half, also joined FC Platinum late last year.
There was no league in Zimbabwe last year due to the coronavirus.
“That sharpness was always missing, we played some training games around and I could tell that sharpness was missing.
“So the sharpness wasn’t there because of inactivity. But the guys worked so hard and I want to give them credit.
“They worked so hard considering where we are coming from. We haven’t played football for quite some time.
“I am proud of the boys, they worked so hard, it’s unfortunate losing on penalties, it’s like a lottery; anything can happen, but I am proud of the boys,” added Mapeza.
The former Zimbabwe captain might have been hoping for a positive result, with the game coming in the week that he was appointed Warriors coach, albeit on a short-term contract.
(The Sunday Mail)