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EXACTLY a month after a late penalty gave FC Platinum a new lease of life, on their way to winning the Independence Cup, fate dealt them a heavy blow yesterday as a hotly-disputed spot-kick subjected them to a painful defeat at the National Sports Stadium.

It was Lloyd Mutasa’s first loss as coach, in duels against the Glamour Boys and while the FC Platinum gaffer chose not to blame referee Ruzive Ruzive of biased officiating, his comments spoke volumes about his bitterness at the end of a Castle Lager Premiership game that never scaled the expected heights.

Mutasa tried hard to control his emotions as he made an effort to avoid commenting on the contested penalty.

He, however, felt FC Platinum were hard done by the referee’s decisions and refused to accept that his side had lost the match fairly.

“I think I cannot say much because it might be interpreted in a different way. I can only say we failed to score,” said Mutasa.

“I cannot speak on things that we don’t have control over, but with this kind of officiating I don’t see us as a nation going forward because it’s like games are won away from the football pitch.

“It’s a pity that we waste a lot of energy and resources working with these youngsters, but at the end of the day somebody decides which team is supposed to win.

“Such is football in Zimbabwe . . . It’s unfortunate that things turn out as nasty as this. I don’t think fans pay their money to watch this kind of football. It’s a pity.”

On April 18, in the Independence Cup tie, FC Platinum were on the verge of defeat as they trailed DeMbare 0-1, with 10 minutes of added time played, when referee Batsirai Muchenje gave them a lifeline by pointing to the spot and Qadr Amin converted to send the game into a penalty shoot-out which the Zvishavane side won.

Yesterday, a balanced game, that was long on desperation and poor on quality, appeared to be staggering to the inevitability of a draw, which would have been accepted by both teams, until drama erupted with just four minutes left in regulation time.

Substitute Patrick Kumbula swung one of a number of balls that DeMbare rained into the FC Platinum area, in their desperation to get contact on a day when lack of creativity in midfield was again crudely exposed and Simba Sithole appeared to have made a mess of his attempt to make a spectacular bicycle kick.

Sithole went down and the DeMbare fans mourned once again, but referee Ruzive pointed to the spot, ruling that Thabani Kamusoko had held back the forward when they made contact.

From a distance it appeared a very soft decision, but to his credit, Ruzive was very close to the action and his decision was firm and instant.

FC Platinum players protested against that decision, but Ruzive stood his ground and Ocean Mushure’s conversion, from the spot, was emphatic as Dynamos scored for the first time in four matches.

Dynamos coach Callisto Pasuwa was not interested in talking about the penalty decision and chose to dwell on his team’s shortcomings as they have not been scoring goals in open play of late.

The win, though, was welcome relief to the Glamour Boys who had not managed to pick maximum points in their last three league outings.

“I am just a coach and that’s the name of the game. The fact that we collected three points, it’s well done to the boys. We need to work on our strike force, in terms of scoring goals in open play,” said Pasuwa.

The disputed penalty was one of the major talking points in the match as both teams struggled the entire match, with little goal mouth action at both ends.

Probably the only real chance in the first half was when Mushure unleashed a dipping shot from a free-kick, but goalkeeper Petros Mhari had a slight touch before the ball crashed against the crossbar.

FC Platinum usually play a passing game but yesterday they failed to spread the ball fluently and they also lacked the commitment going forward.

Their midfielders Allen Gahadzikwa and Marshal Mudehwe did not turn up although Kamusoko was impressive in his defensive duties.

DeMbare also looked below par with their star midfielder Ronald Chitiyo looking a pale shadow of himself while there was nothing to look forward to from their strikers Washington Pakamisa and Simba Sithole.

Mutasa made two quick substitutions in the 51st minute bringing in Raymond Sibanda and Tarisai Rukanda in place of Njabulo Ncube and Marshal Mudehwe but the pair failed to make an impact.

The platinum miners wasted good opportunities from the set pieces they got inside the Dynamos half, but Thabani Kamusoko nearly got it right in the 53rd minute when he forced a good save from George Chigova.

Kamusoko fired a curling shot which, however, found the giant goalkeeper alert as Chigova dived to his left and punched the ball out to safety.

Apart from a superb attempt by Stephen Alimenda in the 57th minute, when he tried a first time volley which was palmed out by the FC Platinum goalkeeper, there was very little to write home about.

But DeMbare had their lucky stars to thank after they got the penalty which made the difference and the Glamour Boys actually came to life, after the pressure had been lifted and had some good chances to increase their lead.

Teams

Dynamos: G. Chigova, B. Moyo, O. Mushure, P. Jaure, T. Ndlovu, S. Alimenda, R. Chitiyo, T. Rusike, T. Mabvura (C. Sekete, 55th min), S. Sithole, W. Pakamisa (P. Khumbula, 55th min)

FC Platinum : P. Mhari, S. Shoko, Q. Amini, G. Bello, J. Marufu, T. Kamusoko, A. Gahadzikwa (W. Mutasa, 61st min), M. Mudehwe (R. Sibanda, 50th min), D. Ngoma, N. Ncube (T. Rukanda, 51st min), M. Katsvairo.

Source : The Herald

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