Do­ing won­ders:

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Mukudzei Ching­were Sports Re­porter

AS HAD largely been ex­pected, FC Plat­inum utilised their Man­dava fortress to their ad­van­tage to edge past Mala­gasy out­fit CNaPS and set up a Cham­pi­ons League first round date against Con­golese side As­so­ci­a­tion Sportive Otho D’oyo.

The Zim­babwe soc­cer Kings wel­comed the In­dian Ocean is­lan­ders know­ing that even a goal­less draw would have suf­ficed to see them ne­go­ti­ate their way past the pre­lim­i­nary round.

But with gritty mid­fielder Farai Mad­hananga en­joy­ing fine form, the hosts made sure their pas­sage was se­cured in reg­u­la­tion time when reign­ing Cas­tle Soc­cer Star of the Year Rod­well Chinyengetere struck.

Just like he did in the first leg, Mad­hananga was for the sec­ond game in com­mand as the Zvisha­vane min­ers sent the bat­tling Mada­gas­car cham­pi­ons out of the com­pe­ti­tion.

FC Plat­inum will now ex­pect an­other cagey as­sign­ment in the first round against AS Otoho D’oyo and thanks largely to the form of Mad­hananga.

The former Harare City man mus­cled his way into the box be­fore squar­ing the ball into the path of Chinyengetere who slot­ted home the only goal of the match.

FC Plat­inum had last week re­stricted the CNaPS to a 1-1 stale­mate away in An­tana­narivo to se­cure a vic­tory that puts them in line to face an AS Otoho D’oyo side that up­staged peren­nial An­golan cam­paign­ers Primeiro Agosto.

This means there will be no re­peat of last year’s first round clash against the An­golans who knocked them out of the first round be­fore go­ing all to the way to semi-fi­nals where Esper­ance of Tu­nisia even­tu­ally stopped them.

A heavy down­pour hit Zvisha­vane be­fore the match and the pitch was not con­ducive for FC Plat­inum’s free flow­ing foot­ball.

The vis­i­tors are also used to play­ing on an ar­ti­fi­cial turf and they also strug­gled to cope with the con­di­tions on the pitch.

Coach Nor­man Mapeza threw in new­boy Lameck Nhamo in the start­ing team for his FC Plat­inum de­but and the burly striker did not dis­ap­point ei­ther on his de­but.

Mapeza, how­ever, re­fused to be drawn into com­ment­ing about in­di­vid­ual per­for­mances in his side and ex­pressed his sat­is­fac­tion in the way they played as a team.

“It was not easy . . . in the sec­ond half we were a bit cau­tious (but) when we got that goal it opened up the game, we were strong at the back and I am happy we man­aged to get a re­sult.

“I know they were go­ing to come at us, but credit to the boys. They did very well, we now pre­pare for our next game.

“My worry is now for the boys we have been play­ing foot­ball since Jan­uary and it is not easy for the boys but I am happy our re­cov­ery pro­gramme has been go­ing on well,” he said.

De­spite their pro­gres­sion, coach Mapeza felt his men should learn the tac­tic of killing the game in the lat­ter stages of the com­pe­ti­tion.

“When we are play­ing in Africa we need to learn to kill the game, we were lead­ing one nil but the play­ers kept on go­ing you need to take the ball to the cor­ner flag and kill off some time.

“We need to learn to man­age the game,” Mapeza said.

The hosts showed their in­ten­tions as early as the fifth minute, when Mad­hananga came close to scor­ing his sec­ond in this en­counter after Gift Mb­weti had pushed the ball into his path, but the former’s strike was inches over.

Mo­ments later, Devon Chafa’s pow­er­ful strike from a dis­tance was re­pelled by the im­pres­sive CNaPS goal­keeper Jean Ran­dri­ana­solo, but Chinyengetere failed to time his run to per­fec­tion to bury the re­bound.

The min­ers con­tin­ued to be on the front foot, for­wards Mb­weti and Chinyengetere had a smart ex­change in the fi­nal third but the former failed again to beat the in­spired Ran­dri­ana­solo.

Mid­way through the half, the vis­i­tors got a rare chance to taste the re­solve of Pet­ros Mhari but striker Ar­nauld Ran­dri­nan­te­naina sent his free-kick over the bar.

The vis­i­tors came a more de­ter­mined side after the breather threat­en­ing to pull a shocker in en­emy ter­ri­tory.

On the hour mark ver­sa­tile de­fender Wil­liam Sitima timed his run to per­fec­tion, ac­cel­er­at­ing to thwart the run of livewire Mada­gas­car in­ter­na­tional Lalaina Manamp­isoa who was charg­ing at goal.

Two min­utes later, ev­er­green Mad­hananga charged at the op­po­nents be­fore re­leas­ing the ball into the path of Chinyengetere who had a sim­ple task of just slot­ting it beyond the reach of the goal­keeper.

The vis­i­tors were re­fus­ing to be cowed into sub­mis­sion and Mil­i­son Ni­a­sexe was through on goal but Gift Bello sum­moned his ex­pe­ri­ence and sac­ri­ficed a yel­low card for the team when he hacked down the op­po­nent.

Five min­utes be­fore full-time, Thomas Chideu should have wrapped the game as a con­test but missed a clear chance after some fine work by his team­mates.

CNaPS coach Pa­trick An­dri­ambololona was full of com­plaints at the fi­nal whis­tle after watch­ing his team fail to progress.

“We had our chances we should have scored but we failed to score, again there was an is­sue with the ref­eree, he should have given a red card.

“There were some changes in the FC Plat­inum team so it was like learn­ing a new team all to­gether that was dif­fi­cult on our part, they had play­ers that did not play in Mada­gas­car.

“The ter­rain was also heavy for us and the wa­ter on the pitch after the rain made us tired but the hu­mid­ity was okay for us, the prob­lem was not on our de­fence but our strik­ers let us down, that is where we lost the game,” said An­dri­ambololona.

Teams:

FC Plat­inum: P Mhari, R Mudu­viwa, E Moyo, W Sitima, G Bello, K Mad­zongwe, D Chafa, F Mad­han­hanga, G Mb­weti (L Mh­langa 86th min), R Chinyengetere, L Nhamo (T Chideu 62nd min)

CNaPS Sport: J Ran­dri­ana­solo, L Manamp­isoa, J Bourahim, E Tolo­jana­hary (R Fe­tra­ni­aina 22nd min), R Ro­jaonar­iv­elo, T San­dra­trini­aina, T Mian­drisoa (M Ni­a­sexe 65th min), A An­dri­anaval­ona (T Ran­dri­a­ni­aina 32nd min), O Ramian­dri­son, A Ran­dri­nan­te­naina, T An­dri­ani­rina

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