MAFETENG — Goalless draws are by nature supposed to be drab and sleep-inducing affairs with little action and no talking points.
But yesterday Bantu and LDF went some way in breaking the mould when they served up an entertaining dish under very difficult conditions in Mafeteng.
The goalless draw and a point for each side was enough to see both draw level with LCS at the summit of the Vodacom Premier League on 24 points.
For A Matšo Matebele it was enough to see them claim pole position on goal difference at the halfway stage of the championship race, and maintain the momentum after successive victories over Linare and Lioli.
LDF will also be happy after they became the first side to claim a precious point after Bantu had floored all their previous four opponents who dared to put their feet in Mafeteng.
The match itself almost did not go ahead after heavy rains pounded Mafeteng yesterday with referee Lebalang Mokete giving a late go ahead to allow the match to proceed.
The pattern for the match was set from very early on.
LDF started like a house on fire and within the first five minutes the army side had forced three corner kicks.
Sohle-Sohle’s plan was simple, to attack from the flanks with Lengana Nkhethoa from the left and Janefeke Molibeli from the right.
In the midfield Paseka Lebata, Matli Matli and the evergreen Malefetsane Pheko, who tucked from the left, strangled the hosts.
The visiting army side were also helped by the better conditions in the half they were attacking while Bantu had to deal with a slippery mud-bath en route to goal.
In the 12th minute LDF right-back Mokoena Moahloli went on a mazy run but shot straight at the keeper.
A minute later it was Mojela Letsie’s turn as he also failed to beat Daniel Jousse after doing well to make space for himself on the edge of the box.
Three minutes later Sohle-Sohle had the ball in the back of the net but Thabo Mphethe was ruled offside.
Bantu tried to fight back but it was LDF who created the better chances, the best of which came in the 28th minute when Letsie again couldn’t get power on his shot.
Three minutes later Jousse, who is fast earning himself a reputation as Lesotho’s Spiderman, produced another save leaping spectacularly to claw Pheko’s goal-bound shot out of the air.
It was a moment worthy of a replay and it drew the loudest cheers from the Bantu faithful who once again came in their numbers to cheer their team on, but were finding little joy.
Things got better in the second half.
The impressive Mohapi Ntobo surged forward more regularly and Bantu were able to get their playmaker Tefo Maipato more involved in the play.
Going the other way Bantu were all of a sudden the better side.
Ntobo had a shot scrape the crossbar in the 57th minute then three minutes later Khalefo Nkuebe brought the best of out LDF keeper Sello Ramakau after a good run.
Three minutes later left-winger Molefi Mosebo cut onto his right to also test Ramakau.
But as the match looked as it would go into overdrive the heavens opened again and Lesotho’s fields were unable to cope as the muddy, slippery pitch got worse.
But with top spot in the land on the line the players were still fighting tooth and nail.
The challenges were fierce and the action frenetic.
Both teams did have close shaves but the best chance fell to Bantu’s Mpho Matsinyane who skied his volley over the bar after Nkuebe’s cross from the right caused havoc in the soldiers defence in the 80th minute.
In the end the teams seemed happy to share a point each.
The crowd in attendance in Mafeteng, including the Minister of Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation ‘Mathabiso Lepono, also didn’t go home unhappy.
Both Bantu and LDF live to fight another day in what is turning out to be the most unpredictable title race Lesotho has seen in years.