TSHILO Tshilo emerged the hero yesterday afternoon after saving two penalties as rookies Lifofane dethroned Matlama to be crowned the new Matekane Group of Companies (MGC) Top4 champions at Bocheletsane in Mantsonyane.
Lifofane beat Matlama 3-0 in the final in a David vs Goliath affair that was decided on penalties after a goalless 90 minutes.
Molise Koena, Halifele Moqoqola and John Mofokeng, all converted their spot kicks to earn Lifofane the M195 000 first prize while Matlama settled for the M115 000 second prize.
The two sides had booked their places in the final after Lifofane edged Linare 1-0 in the semi-final while Matlama beat Bantu 4-2 on penalties after a one-all draw in the second semi-final.
In the final, Matlama were the first to threaten early in the first half but Mabuti Potloane shot wide.
Lifofane also got their own chance on eight minutes but Karabo Mofokeng missed from a one-on-one situation. The Butha-Buthe outfit continued menacing Matlama’s defence but failed to score.
Matlama came close again in the 34th minute when Thato Rantšo’s attempt was parried over the bar.
Lifofane made an early substitution introducing Joseph Boateng for Manaheng Velaphe on 36 minutes.
Early in the second half Matlama introduced Jane Thabantšo for Lekhanya Lekhanya while Lifofane responded by bringing in Koena Molise for Oscar Mpohsah.
Matlama had the woodwork to thank after Boateng’s free header on 53 minutes.
A few minutes later Matlama called in Stephen Essono for Rantšo before Khoanyane Mokoena made way for Thapelo Tale moments later.
Lifofane made a forced change on 78 minutes after Karabo Mofokeng suffered an ankle injury. He was replaced by Mokoqola.
Lifofane coach Thomas Chabalala said his team deserved the win citing that they dominated the game from the onset.
“We could have killed the game early but we missed chances,” Chabalala said.
He said after studying Matlama’s semi-final against Bantu, he was confident that they would win the final.
Chabalala also believes the win would benefit his players when they return to the league.
For his part, Matlama coach Charles Manda congratulated Lifofane for the victory and admitted that the minnows have always caused problems for his side.
“This is one of the difficult sides to face. They beat us 2-1 in the first round and we drew 1-1 in the second round of the league,” Manda said.
Bantu and Linare each took home M85 000.
Lifofane also dominated the individual awards with Chabalala, Tshilo, Mofokeng been named coach, goalkeeper and player of the tournament respectively. Chabalala and Tshilo each pocketed M2 000 while Mofokeng took home M3 000.
Boateng (Lifofane), Motlomelo Mkwanazi (Bantu) and Thabantšo of Matlama shared M2 500 for being top goal scorers as top goal scorers with one goal apiece.