Gweru — HARDBODY earned their first ever point against FC Platinum in the Midlands derby which has its roots in the Zifa Central Soccer League when the two sides restricted each other to a goalless draw in a lifeless Castle Lager Premiership encounter at Ascot yesterday.
The visitors, FC Platinum, hogged the limelight for the wrong reasons when, out of frustration, Ali Sadiki threw the ball into the nets in a clear belief of "juju" in the 61st minute after his side had failed to breach the home side's watertight defence.
Referee Masakadza Makonese was spot on and cautioned the player.
Not to be outdone were the FC Platinum bouncers who assaulted Hardbody board secretary Talkmore Sibanda when they felt he was taking too long to return the ball in the field of play from the VIP enclosure.
Coming into yesterday's match, FC Platinum were expected to roll past the hosts who they beat 3-1 in the reverse fixture and had won both their matches in the rivalry which dates back to 2010 when both teams were part of the Zifa Central Soccer League.
FC Platinum had clinched 1-0 back-to-back wins in the second tier league with the last result, which was played on the last day of the season, sealing their place in the Premiership.
The first meaningful chance of the match came in the 37th minute when a back pass by Hardbody's Brian Juru was intercepted by Charles Sibanda and with the goal yawning, the 2010 Soccer Star of the Year shot agonisingly over the bar.
In the second half, the visitors brought more urgency into their game and it was no surprise when they almost got the breakthrough in the 58th minute when Benjamin Marere, who had been a mere passenger for the better part of the match, saw his shot hit the upright after being set up by Sadiki inside the box.
A minute later Marere almost made amends for his earlier miss but he failed to connect a fine cross by Sibanda, blazing his effort over the bar with Useni a beaten man.
With the busmen defence standing resolute, managing to repel all FC Platinum's raids, a frustrated Sadiki then collected a ball which was waiting to be dispatched by Useni and threw it in the Hardbody nets and was rightly cautioned by the referee.
Incensed by the referee's decision, the moneybags supporters threw missiles into the pitch, protesting against the referee's decision to caution the player.
Hardbody's meaningful chance of the match fell to substitute Owen Motsi, who had replaced Richard Jongwe in the 64th minute, failed to convert against a heavily exposed FC Platinum goalminder Tafadzwa Dube.
Motsi broke loose from the FC Platinum rearguard after a fine pass by Nhlanhla Ncube, who had roasted two defenders in the process, and when it was easier to shoot at goal, the substitute chose to square the ball which was easily dealt with by Dube.
After the match a distraught FC Platinum coach Tendai Chikuni blamed his team for failing to convert the numerous chances which came their way.
"Football is all about (scoring) goals. We created many scoring chances and piled pressure on Hardbody but my players could not convert the chances.
"But credit should also be given to Hardbody as they managed to contain most of our attacks which shows that there are no small teams now in the league," Chikuni said.
His counterpart Godfrey Tamirepi, whose side now has 15 points, was equally not pleased with the result.
"I am not really happy because at home we should collect maximum points but a draw is not a bad result," the Hardbody mentor said.
After three games in the second half of the season, Watosvorwa should take solace from the fact that they have gone for 270 minutes without conceding a goal whereas at the same stage in the first half season they had conceded nine goals in three matches.
The team have also gone on a three-match unbeaten run, their longest since the season started.
Hardbody: A. Useni, R. Useni, A. Chuma, J. Mangiza, I. Mugwamba, S. Alimenda, B. Juru, J. Muzokomba, N. Ncube (C. Nyoni 70th minute), R. Jongwe (O. Motsi 49th minute), D. Mufudze (M. Nyakabangwe 85th minute).
FC Platinum: T. Dube, Z. Ngodzo, K. Banda, D. Veremu, N. Togara, T. Kamusoko, H. Mavundi (A. Gahadzikwa 49th minute), B. Marere (W. Manondo 69th minute), D. Ngoma (M. Katsvairo 69th minute), C. Sibanda, A. Sadiki.
FC Platinum.............................. 0