Ngqwele Dube, Sports Correspondent
Bulawayo City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
FC Platinum. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (0) 1
CASTLE Lager Premier Soccer League champions, FC Platinum finally returned to winning ways after going for three games without a win, subduing a fighting Bulawayo City with a late goal.
Midfielder Rodwell Chinyengetere won the match for the Zvishavane side when it seemed headed for a stalemate, beating Munyaradzi Diya, who was in between the posts for City, in the 81st minute.
As City cleared their lines, preparing to launch an attack Rahman Kutsanzira intercepted the ball and found an unmarked Chinyengetere on the arc of the box and he obligingly put it past an advancing Diya to secure the three points for Platinum.
The log leaders had gone for three games without a win, losing to ZPC Kariba and sharing the spoils with Yadah Stars and Caps United, a trend that had brought in worry for the defending champions, who are hoping to retain the title.
City woes continued as the defeat condemned them further to the relegation abyss although they put up a good fight and could have walked away with a draw had they managed to convert their chances.
The first half was an even affair although the visitors dominated proceedings and the first clear chance of the day fell to Farai Mupasiri in the 20th minute when he received the ball inside the box off William Stima’s cross but his shot rolled just wide.
Nine minutes later at the other end, Toto Banda pulled a low hard ball and it took a fully stretched FC Platinum goalkeeper, Wallace Magalane to punch it out for a corner kick which, however, did not yield anything for the home side.
Raphael Muduviwa had his shot blocked by City defenders in the 53rd minute with FC Platinum prodding for a goal.
Amakhosi, as City are known, nearly found the opener when substitute Lucky Nyathi’s shot made an awkward bounce and it took an alert Magalane to head it out in the 74th minute.
The win saw FC Platinum maintain their lead at the top of the log standings with 47 points while City lies third from bottom having amassed only 15 points.
FC Platinum coach, Norman Mapeza was pleased with the win, saying the game was a must win for them after going for three matches without collecting maximum points.
“It was a good game particularly in the second half we managed to up our game, pile on the pressure and I am happy we were rewarded with that goal.
“We really needed the win, actually it was a must win game for us and I am happy we go back with the three points, we now shift our attention to the next game against Chapungu,” he said.
City’s acting head coach; Bekithemba Ndlovu rued the missed chances but was hopeful they are on the way to producing winning performances.
He praised his charges for putting up a good showing saying they will have to up their game in the coming games adding they will have to fight to survive relegation.
“I’m disappointed about the result but I think the boys played well and showed a good fighting spirit. We need to be more ruthless upfront and take our chances. I think it was a lesson for us not to relax because we gave away a silly goal.
“I believe we still have a chance to turn around our fortunes in the remaining 13 games and survive,” said Ndlovu.
Bulawayo City: M Diya, T January (I Kutsanzira, 57th), T Banda, C Ncube (Z Ngodzo, 55th), R Pavari, E Mudzingwa, H Ncube, O Zibande, B Phiri, T Tavengwa, C Samakweri (Nyathi 70th).
FC Platinum: W Magalane, R Muduviwa, G Bello, K Moyo, W Stima, W Mhango, F Madhanaga, R Chinyengetere, R Kutsanzira (K Madzongwe, 89th), F Mupasiri (G Mbweti, 62nd), M Dube (N Tigere, 47th).