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Bantu cement pole position

by Sunday Express
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Moorosi Tsiane

LINDOKUHLE Phungulwa scored the solitary goal as Bantu edged LMPS at Setsoto Stadium yesterday to cement pole position in the Econet Premier League log standings.

This was Bantu’s third victory on the trot while LMPS succumbed to their first defeat in three matches.

The match started at a slow pace with LMPS sitting back and waiting to catch Bantu on the break.

They almost got an early breakthrough when striker Tanki Makhele received the ball unmarked in the 18-yard area four minutes into the match but Bantu goalkeeper, Thabo Sedisa, was on hand to rescue his team in the one-on-one situation.

Bantu enjoyed the lion’s share of the ball but struggled to break down the LMPS defence as the police side put numbers behind the ball whenever they lost possession.

It took Bantu 20 minutes to unleash their first shot at goal from defender Tsietsi Khooa who shot from long range. However, his shot was easily dealt with by LMPS goalkeeper, Akhente Pule.

A Matšo Matebele came close to opening the scoring 10 minutes later but Tsietsi Motseare’s free header narrowly missed the target.

However, they were not to be denied when the individual brilliance of Phungulwa enabled him to unleash a cracker from just outside the penalty area off a short corner from Hlompho Kalake on 39 minutes.

The goal appeared to take the stuffing out of LMPS who started to open up and allow Bantu more space to attack them.

Bantu thought they had a second a minute from the break but Motseare’s header was ruled off side.

Motseare started the second stanza from where he left off and his header went over the bar on 47 minutes.

LMPS brought on Monyatheli Ntobo in place of Retšelisitsoe Moloisane on 53 minutes in a bid to stabilise their ship and two minutes later, Bantu also brought on Pheko Molaoa for Lehlohonolo Fothoane.

LMPS made their second substitution on the hour mark bringing on Relebohile Kaneli for the wasteful Tanki Makhele and three minutes later, Kamohelo Kotelo was introduced in place of Sheli Ramoseeka.

Bantu also introduced Lazola Tjokotjokwana for Motseare to add pressure on the LMPS defence.

The substitutions didn’t not change much on LMPS side as Bantu continued to dominate them.

Tjokotjokwana was thorn in the LMPS backline and Kalake failed to do justice to his pin-point cross down the right wing as he shot straight at the goalkeeper.

Bantu had their last chance five minutes before time but Moloisane Ramasimong was unlucky to hit the cross bar with a chip after LMPS defenders were caught napping by Litšepe Marabe.

In past math interview, Bantu coach James Madidilane was happy to collect maximum points.

“I am happy with the results as it was not an easy match against a team that defended deep and tried to catch us on the break,” Madidilane said, adding, “they nearly scored from one of the mistakes we committed”.

“The win means so much to us but we will be taking each match as it comes and make sure we collect maximum points,” Madidilane said.

LMPs assistant coach Nthako Nalana said they lost against a good team, adding, “We played according to our game plan but unfortunately there was a lapse of concertation and we got punished”.

“Now it’s all water under the bridge we need to focus and prepare the team for our next match,” Nalana said.

Elsewhere, Linare registered their first win of the season beating Liphakoe 1-0. Sefotha-fotha and Sandawana collected their first point each after playing to a one-all stalemate.

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