By Mukudzei Chingwere
FC Platinum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (0 1
Primero de Agosto . . . . . . . . . (0) 2
(Primero de Agosto win 5-1 on aggregate)
FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza refused to bury his head in shame after bowing out of the CAF Champions League at the preliminary hurdle “claiming only those in football will understand what hit his team’’ at Mandava yesterday.
The Zimbabwean Champions were given a reality check of how far they are still behind the quality of the continental game after completing back-to-back defeats at the hands of the Angolans.
It was always going to be a daunting task for FC Platinum after Mapeza’s men fell 3-0 in the first leg in Luanda on February 11, which meant they needed to win by four clear goals yesterday to upstage the Angolans.
On a rainy day in Zvishavane, the platinum miners’ chances of pulling a Houdini Act started to wash away with each minute as a goalless first half meant that it was the visitors who retained their advantage.
Early into the second half, the home team’s dreams were over. Clube Desportivo Primero de Agosto made it 4-0 on aggregate when Ibukun struck.
Moments later Rodwell Chinyengetere equalised for the hosts, but instead of giving them hope, it counted merely as a consolation as striker Jacques, who scored a brace in Luanda sealed another victory for the visitors with a winner in added time.
FC Platinum had set themselves the bar of reaching the group stage of Africa’s biggest inter-club tournament, but they got a rude awakening on the rigours of the continental game.
Despite the hiding they received at the hands of Primero de Agosto, Mapeza refused to blame his players and instead said they had done well.
“We created chances and failed to convert a goal, it is the transition period where we were a bit slow when we lost the ball. But credit to the boys, they worked so hard and the only problem we had was working on our transitions.
“These guys are very experienced and you can tell from the way they are playing that they have been together for sometime and in football you need that,” said Mapeza.
“You know at times there are mistakes footballers make and you need someone in football to understand it, we can talk much about them, but if you are not in football, it is difficult to understand,” claimed Mapeza.
Primero de Agosto coach Zoran Maki was happy with his team’s qualification into the first round of the tournament.
“We played well and not many teams come to play with the Platinum team and win here and we managed to do that, they are a good team. We are not used to this kind of weather in Angola, but we came here early and camped before the match, which helped us.
In the first leg we wanted to avoid them scoring and we did that, when we came here, we wanted to just score a goal, which we did, the guys played well,” said Maki.
The Angolans settled first in the duel, threatening to finish off the miners in their own backyard, but the visitors removed the foot on the pedal, winding down the clock to preserve their lead.
It was not until the 10th minute that FC Platinum started playing like real champions. Veteran Ali Sadiki set Never Tigere on goal, but the Agosto captain Bobo denied the former ZPC Kariba man with a heroic intervention.
The miners continued with their patient build-ups, but the final ball remained their Achilles Heel and just like last season, Mapeza seems to have failed to address his team’s goal scoring impotency.
Mkhokheli Dube led the line for the Zimbabweans, but failed to convert a few chances that came his way. His best chance came 10 minutes before the breather, but his shot was repelled by Neblu in goal for Agosto.
Moments later, Marshall Mudehwe used his famed pace to leave his marker for dead, but his powerful shot was just inches over the bar. Agosto showed their intentions to humiliate the Zimbabweans two minutes before half-time.
Jacques crossed the ball into the path of Ibukun, but the former’s effort was just over. After the breather, Agosto came meaning business and in the 55th minute, they found yet another goal that must have gone some way into deflating the home team’s spirits.
Geraldo crossed the ball after some brilliant work on the line, leaving Ibukun with the simplest task to fire home the lead, which was aided by a Winston Mhango deflection.
Chinyengetere then levelled the terms with a powerful shot to give the miners some consolation. But Jacques completed the job when he converted in added time to complete FC Platinum’s misery.
FC Platinum: W Magalane, E Moyo, R Mudhuviwa, K Moyo, G Bello, W Mhango, N Tigere (C Sibanda 34th), R Chinyengetere, A Sadiki, M Mudehwe (H Bakacheza 74th), M Dube
Primero de Agosto: Neblu, Isaac, Bobo, Massunguna, Natael, Chow, Mongo (Guelor 72nd), Geraldo (Bile 90th), Ibukun, Macaia (Yisa 80th), Jacques
Source: Nehanda Radio