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Resurgent FC Platinum win Platinum Derby to revive title hopes as Highlanders’ woes continue

By Sports Reporter

DEFENDING champions FC Platinum kept alive their hopes of an unprecedented fourth Castle Lager Premier Soccer League title with a hard-fought 1-0 win against leaders Ngezi Platinum Stars on Sunday.

The resurgent Zvishavane-based miners went ahead in the second minute of the match through a goal by former Dynamos player Jarrison Selemani.

Spurred on by the home support, the Norman Mapeza-coached side managed to hold on to the lead and secured a victory which not only gave them bragging rights in the Platinum Derby but more importantly lifted them into second position on the log with 46 points and five points behind Ngezi.

After enduring an inconsistent start to the campaign, FC Platinum, who have won the last three domestic titles appear to have hit top gear at a crucial stage in the season with five straight wins, which leaves Ngezi with no room for error as they seek their maiden title.

While FC Platinum is mounting a late charge for the title, with Ngezi’s fate still in their hands, the wheels appear to have come off for Bulawayo giants Highlanders after they slumped to a morale-shattering 3-0 loss against Simba Bhora at the National Sports Stadium.

A brace by former Caps United forward Tinashe Balakasi and Timone Machope’s goal led Simba Bhora to a convincing win which steered them further away from the relegation zone while almost extinguishing Highlanders’ title hopes.

Highlanders, who topped the log for the majority of the season after a 19-match unbeaten start to the campaign, have managed just one win and a draw in their last seven league games.

The dismal run means Bosso is now in third position on 45 points, six points adrift of leaders Ngezi.

In other results of league matches played on Saturday, army side Black Rhinos moved from the basement of the log following a 4-3 win against ZPC Kariba in a seven-goal thriller at Bata Stadium in Gweru while Chicken Inn drew 1-1 against Manica Diamonds at Luveve Stadium.

Meanwhile, in one of the main matches on Sunday, fifth-placed Dynamos will be hoping to take advantage of Ngezi Platinum’s slump by collecting maximum points against Herentals.

Elsewhere, relegation-threatened Caps United face a litmus test as they travel to the Colliery Stadium to face Hwange in a tricky encounter which they need to boost their hopes of avoiding a relegation dogfight.

Caps United are 13th on the log and only above the relegation zone due to a superior goal difference.

The Lloyd Chitembwe-coached side is on a 10-match winless run in the league which dates back to their 2-0 win against Green Fuel on July 15 ahead of their tricky tie against Hwange, who have in recent matches become very difficult to beat on their home patch.

Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match-day 26 results and fixtures:

Saturday: FC Platinum 1-0 Ngezi Platinum, Simba Bhora 3-0 Highlanders, Black Rhinos 4-3 ZPC Kariba, Chicken Inn 1-1 Manica Diamonds

Sunday: Dynamos v Herentals (NSS), Yadah v Triangle (Baobab), Hwange v CAPS United (Colliery), Green Fuel v Cranborne Bullets (Chisumbanje), Sheasham v Bulawayo Chiefs (Bata)

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