FC Platinum hold Orlando Pirates in CAF opener
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ZIMBABWEAN PSL Champions FC Platinum began their CAF Champions League group stage campaign with a point after holding crack South African side Orlando Pirates at the Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo Saturday afternoon.
The Zvishavane Boys almost went ahead three minutes later after Kelvin Madzongwe unleashed a threatening strike from range but shot-stopper Jackson Mabokgwane made a crucial save towards the bottom corner.
Kudakwashe Mahachi was handed a start for Pirates after the Zimbabwean was on target in his last two cameo appearances, while Alfred Ndengane was also named in the line-up.
Justin Shonga should have opened the scoring for Bucs in the ninth minute after getting at the end of a counter-attack, but his low right footed strike was smothered by goalkeeper Petros Mhari.
Another chance fell for the Soweto giants after 35 minutes as Innocent Maela came very close to breaking the deadlock with a header that sailed agonisingly wide.
The FC Platinum shot-stopper was in inspired form as he produced a couple fine saves in the closing stages of the half to deny Lorch and Shonga and keep his side in the contest.
The Soweto giants started the second stanza brightly but they could not carve out clear chances in the final third as Shonga cut lone figure at times.
Sredojevic made his first change in the 65th minute, bringing on Zambian forward Augustine Mulenga for Shonga as he went for fresh legs in the remaining 25 minutes.
However, more of the same occurred for the visitors as the second half went on, while they also had a strong penalty claim nine minutes before time after Vincent Pule was brought down inside the box, but the referee waved away the appeals.
Sredojevic made his final change five minutes before time as he withdrew Xolani Mlambo to bring on Linda Mntambo with his final throw of the dice.
Unfortunately, chances were hard to come by in the closing stages on both ends and the sides settled for a share the spoils in their Group B opener.
Here are the key stats:
Here’s how they lined up:
Pirates: Mabokgwane, Jele, Ndengane, Mbekile, Maela, Munetsi, Nyatama, Mlambo, Lorch, Mahachi, Shonga.
Subs: Mpontshane, Mntambo, Makola, Mako, Pule, Mulenga, Gabuza.
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