Champions FC Platinum continued with their unbeaten run in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League, handing Chicken In their second defeat of the season in an exciting match at Luveve Stadium yesterday.
A header by striker Perfect Chikwende as early as the fourth minute was all that FC Platinum needed to collect maximum points and retain the top spot in the league with 13 points from four wins and a draw.
The goal came from an Ali Sadiki corner-kick and as Chicken Inn failed to clear that ball, Chikwende rose above the defenders with a header.
A futile attempt to make a clearance off the goal line was made by defender Xolani Ndlovu, but first assistant referee Michael Ncube signalled for a goal and referee Thabani Bamala pointed to the centre.
FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza was ecstatic, but conceded Chicken Inn gave them a good run for their money.
"After getting that early goal we knew it was going to be difficult; Chicken Inn were going to come at us. They had their moments, especially in the first half, but I think today [yesterday] we defended well," Mapeza said.
"Second half it was the same story and we made some mistakes and gave Chicken Inn some hope of coming back into the game, but we defended well today."
He was excited with the good run so far.
"In these first games of the season you need to collect as many points as you can because in the last games things become difficult. So we have to pick up the points and keep the momentum going," he said.
His counterpart Joey Antipas felt FC Platinum's goal should have not stood as the ball did not cross the line.
"It was very unfortunate to lose the game and first of all I would like to question the goal. I haven't seen the replay but according to people who saw it, it was never a goal. But you get those decisions against you and I thought the linesman's flag was always up and who knows why. But we had a good game, gave it
our all. We wanted to get the result in our favour, but it didn't happen," Antipas said.
FC Platinum dominated the first 20 minutes of the game, but the hosts quickly settled and piled on pressure with George Majika and Sipho Ndlovu denied by goalkeeper Pettis Mhari, while the visitors also had their fair of chances in the first half.
The second half was a rather balanced affair with both sides prodding the goalkeepers and in the 59th minute FC Platinum's Elvis Moyo had his shot narrowly miss the upright.
Veteran Clemence Matawu came in for Malvin Gaki on the hour mark and brought life to the Chicken Inn game, sending through Brett Amidu in the 64th minute, but
the young midfielder dilly-dallied with the ball, giving FC Platinum enough time to recover.
Chicken Inn: D Bernard, P Bernard (L Sithole 48'), X Ndlovu, M Jackson, G Goddard, S Ndlovu, G Majika, M Gaki (C Matawu 60'), C Augusto, T Chipunza, I Mucheneka (B Amidu 60')
FC Platinum: P Mhari, L Mhlanga, G Bello, K Moyo, E Moyo, D Chafa, R Pavari, A Sadiki, R Kutsanzira (G Murwira 89'), N Tigere (F Madhananga 89'), P Chikwende.
Castle Lager Premier Soccer League results and fixtures
Yesterday: ZPC Kariba 2-1 Yadah FC, Chicken Inn 0-1 FC Platinum, Harare City 1-2 Black Rhinos, Mushowani Stars 0-0 Highlanders.
Today: CAPS United v Bulawayo Chiefs (National Sports Stadium), Triangle United v Chapungu (Gibbo), Hwange v Manica Diamonds (Colliery), Herentals v Ngezi
Platinum (Rufaro), TelOne v Dynamos (Barbourfields).