Zvishavane — Reigning champions FC Platinum shot to the top of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League log standings for the first time this season following an impressive 2-0 win over a stubborn Hwange at Mandava Stadium yesterday.
Farai Madhanhanga and Never Tigere scored in either halves of the game to help the platinum miners to the summit of the log table with 10 points after four matches.
This was Hwange's first loss of the season having won their three games against Yadah Stars, Dynamos and Ngezi Platinum.
However, the miners had looked hesitant in the opening exchanges, but transformed into an irresistible attacking force after the half-hour mark, with Madhanhanga putting the hosts ahead in the 35th minute.
Madhanhanga had not scored in the Premier League since October last season, but he ended that barren stretch when he headed home a curling corner kick whipped in by Ali Sadiki.
The second stanza was rather cagey for the two sides as Hwange searched for the elusive equaliser, but failed to crack the steely FC Platinum backline.
Pure Platinum Play then grabbed an assurance goal through Tigere, who planted a blistering free-kick into the top right corner from outside the box nine minutes before full-time.
However, despite collecting maximum points, FC Platinum gaffer Norman Mapeza was not happy with his team's overall performance.
"We won, but we struggled a bit today. We were not the usual side today. Nothing really was happening for us today, we did not do anything special, but at the end of the day, it's about character which the boys showed and we managed to get two goals," he said.
While FC Platinum would be delighted with the win, Mapeza should be concerned with the growing injury list at the club after Raphael Muduviwa was stretched off the field of play with a suspected hamstring injury.
He joins Wallace Magalane, Rahman Kutsanzira, Kelvin Madzongwe and William Stima, who are nursing injuries.
Meanwhile, Hwange coach Nation Dube conceded defeat, but expressed dissatisfaction with referee of the day Norman Matemera.
"Today we had a beautiful game though I am still having some questions on the goals that were scored. On the first goal, there was an infringement on the keeper, but the referee did not see it. That was that," Dube said.
"There was also a hand ball on the second goal which we had in the first half, but we not given a freekick. These referee's decisions killed us.
"But I want to appreciate that it was indeed a good game. The first loss was bound to come because you cannot win all your games. We played a good side and they won. So now we are going back to the drawing board and see how can we prepare for our following assignment."
On a good day Hwange could have at least salvaged a point or better. In the first stanza centre forward Dingani Maposa had a trio of half-chances easily saved by Petros Mhari.
Second-half substitute Gilbert Zulu had a shot that looked destined for goal miss the target by inches, though with FC Platinum goalie Mhari beaten.
Tigere, on the other hand, also blazed off target when a third goal looked certain, but despite FC Platinum continuing to press it never did arrive.
FC Platinum: P Mhari, R Muduviwa, G Bello, K Moyo, E Moyo, F Madhanhanga (C Sibanda 90'), D Chafa, R Pavari, A Sadiki (A Eonde 70'), P Chikwende, N Tigere.
Hwange FC: T Mvula, S Gadzikwa, N Chinyerere, F Chindungwe, G Ndlovu, A Tshuma, A Banda (G Zulu 68), E Nkhulungo, A Ndlovu (T Ncube 68'), E Gwitima, D Maphosa.
FC Platinum... ... ... ... ... ... ... ..(1) 2
Hwange... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... .(0) 0