THREE goals from Tsietsi Motšeare, Litšepe Marabe and Lazola Tjokotjokwana helped Bantu to a hard fought 3-1 win over stubborn Liphakoe in an Econet Premier League match played at Setsoto Stadium yesterday.
Liphakoe grabbed their consolation through Setho Moshoeshoe as Bantu cemented their position at the summit of the 13-team league table.
They now have an eight point lead over Lioli who have a chance to reduce it to five if they win against LDF this afternoon in Teyateyaneng.
The champions meant business from the first whistle and they found the opener in the third minute.
An unmarked Motšeare received a pin-point cross from Hlompho Kalake inside the penalty area and he beat a helpless Tankiso Chaba in goals for Liphakoe.
It was a one way traffic as Bantu kept on attacking Liphakoe and came close to extending the lead on 11 minutes but for debutant, Tumelo Maine, to shoot straight at Chaba after receiving another cross from Itumeleng Falene.
Liphakoe were soon forced into a desperate first half substitution with the ineffective Thabo Matšoele making way for Neo Skosana on the half hour mark.
The striker made his presence felt as Liphakoe began threatening although they couldn’t find the breakthrough.
Bantu made a half time change pulling out Lehlohonolo Fothoane for Tjokotjokwana.
Liphakoe came back the better of the two sides and it didn’t take long to get even.
Bantu were punished on 55 minutes when their defence failed to communicate and Falene obstructed goalkeeper Thabo Sedisa who then parried Relebohile Moloinyane’s shot to Moshoeshoe who easily slotted home the rebound.
Liphakoe were now firmly in control and could have even taken the lead were it not for poor finishing.
Bantu made their second change on 63 minutes bringing in Mokone Marabe for Maine.
Mohau Rammoneng was introduced on 72 minutes for Makapa to further neutralise the Bantu midfield and he worked wonders.
Bantu did not sit back as they went out in search of a win after last weekend’s disappointing draw with rookies Sefotha-fotha.
Kalake came close to restoring Bantu’s lead on 75 minutes but he was denied by the cross bar after a well worked out move involving Motšeare and Marabe.
Three minutes later, Bantu made a tactical change pulling out striker Motšeare for a defensive midfielder, Pheko Molaoa and pushed Lindokuhle Phungulwa forward to play close to Tjokotjokwana.
The tactical change worked for Bantu and it was not long before Marabe put them ahead after Chaba erroneously parried the ball in his path for him to make an easy tap in to send the fans into frenzy on 80 minutes.
Tjokotjokwana wrapped up the win with a spectacular left footer which hit the upright and trickled into the net.
Bantu coach, James Madidilane, was however, not impressed with his charges’ performance but said they would build on the win.
“We didn’t play well especially in the second half and we were forced to change our formation and play two strikers,” Madidilane said.
“But the good thing is that we got those two important goals that gave us three points to build on going forward.”
Liphakoe coach, Motolo Makepe, blamed the defeat on lack of experience.
“I think we had a good game but the problem is lack of experience and it is costing us. We gave them too much space in the middle in the first half but we changed in the second half and tried to catch them on the break and to some extent it worked as we got that goal,” Makepe said.
Elsewhere, Matlama and Linare played out a 1-all stalemate at Ratjomose Ground while Sefotha-fotha also played out their second successive goalless draw against LMPS at PTC Ground.