HLOMPHO Kalake scored late to hand Bantu a 1-0 win over LCS in an Econet Premier League top of the table clash at Setsoto Stadium yesterday.
The win left the defending champions within two points of leaders Matlama, who are in action today against Galaxy at Maputsoe DIFA Ground.
LCS, who went into the match sitting in third place and seven points behind Matlama, squandered two good chances early in the first half.
Lehlohonolo Lenka found himself in a one-on-one position with Thabiso Lichaba on the 20th minute but failed to find the back of the net as the Bantu goalkeeper saved the effort.
The outstanding Lichaba was at it again a few minutes later and denied LCS this time stopping speedy Thabo Seakhoa, who beat the Bantu defenders with his pace to get himself face to face with the Bantu shot stopper.
Bantu on the other hand, struggled to create clear goal scoring chances as the match went for the break goalless.
The Mafeteng outfit, which needed a win to keep their chances of defending their league title alive in the two remaining matches, reacted by making a change at the interval introducing Lehlohonolo Fothoane.
The move worked wonders for A Matšo Matebele as they managed to create good goal scoring chances leading to them breaking the deadlock on the 65th minute.
Much against the run of play, Hlompho Kalake showed composure inside the penalty box putting the ball in the back of the net.
LCS had an opportunity to find their way back through substitute James Mothotjela but he failed to capitalise on a Lichaba mistake with the Bantu goalkeeper kicking a weak ball onto the feet of the young LCS midfielder.
Lazola Jokojokwane came close to making it 2-0 for Bantu late in the match but Sam Ketsekile showed his experience to deny the Bantu striker.
Bantu coach James Madidilane told this publication that he was happy to walk away with all the three points and close the gap between them and Matlama to just two points.
However, Tse Putsoa can increase the lead to five points again if the beat Galaxy in today’s match.
The A Matšo Matebele gaffer indicated that they were lucky not to have conceded on the day as LCS also had good goal scoring chances.
“Both teams had chances to win the match, I think it was 50/50 until we scored,” Madidilane said.
“I’m very happy that we won. What is important for us in this title race is to win our matches.
“We have to win our remaining three games and see how it goes with Matlama as they have the advantage. It’s one game at the time and if they win it, I think they will be deserving the title.”
For his part, LCS coach Mpitsa Marai admitted that his team was let down by lack luck on the day as they had three good chances to win the match.
“This is football. We got the chances but failed to punish them and it came back to haunt us.
“But at the same time, I cannot blame the players. This is part of football and we will get better with experience. We will work hard to win our remaining games to finish the season in a respectable position.
“We have had a lot of injuries throughout the season and at the end of the day that worked against us,” Marai said.