LCS . . . . . (1) 3
Joy . . . . . . (2) 2
MASERU — LCS took another giant step towards claiming their first premier league title since 2008 with a dramatic 3-2 win over Joy at Central Prison yesterday.
The win moves Masheshena three points clear of LDF at the top of the Vodacom Premier League log with 51 points from 24 games and just one match to go.
Sohle-Sohle are in action this afternoon.
The result also kept up Masheshena’s unbeaten record in 2011.
But LCS will be the first to admit that the victory was by the skin of their teeth after a game that saw five goals and two red cards.
Things were not looking so good for LCS until that moment 16 minutes into the second half when both Joy’s Jeremia Kamele and Masheshena’s Ralekoti Mokhahlane were dismissed for retaliation and dissent respectively after they clashed.
Before then Joy were looking on course to claim a shock result that would derail Masheshena’s title challenge.
Makoanyane XI starlet Kamele had up to that point stolen the show by slotting two goals, a penalty and a piece of opportunism, to feast on LCS’s lethargic approach.
Joy, motivated by their desire to secure the point to secure their Vodacom Premier League future did not need a second invitation.
After just 15 minutes Joy were in front after Moitheri Ntobo’s handball after a break by Lekena Ntoi left referee Matheola Makhobalo with no choice but to point to the spot. Kamele calmly obliged to send Sam Ketsekile the wrong way.
LCS striker Thulo Ranchobe did equalise in the 26th minute capitalising on a mistake by Joy captain Basia after miscommunication with his keeper Liteboho Mokhehle.
However it was still Joy who were the more energetic side and that came to the fore for their second goal a minute before the interval.
Kamele, fired up after his first goal, chased a seemingly lost cause but when Ketsekile miscontrolled Khoto Sesinyi’s back-pass he profited and scored in the 44th minute.
It was Kamele’s eighth goal of the season. But that is as it got for the Sebothoane side that featured three Under-20 internationals, Kamele, Makepe and Mafa Moremoholo.
Early in the second half Kamele was sent off along with LCS’s Mokhahlane and there only seemed one winner. Just five minutes after the dismissals Lieta Lehloka’s pinpoint pass was excellently controlled and finished by Ranchobe.
And in the 70th minute again Lehloka was the provider setting up Lawrence Molengoane whose shot squirmed through Mokhehle in goals.
LCS could have added more but the three points is all that mattered.
LCS now have two games left, a clash with outgoing champions Matlama at either the Central Prison or Setsoto Stadium on Wednesday, and a last day clash with LDF next Sunday.
“We were missing our players who normally play on the wings. We rested them because of injuries and we didn’t have the same play from the wings,” LCS mentor Mafa Ramakau said after LCS’s win.
“The win shows the toughness of our team, that when it gets tough they work harder.
“This game had put us under stress,” Ramakau added.
“We believed that if we didn’t win we would fall behind LDF who are playing tomorrow.”
“Our strength is that we have talented individual players and today our plan was spoilt with the sending off,” Joy coach Motlatsi Thibinyane said afterwards.
“I think we are safe, we just need a point to survive.”
In St Monica’s, Mphatlalatsane kept up their hopes of survival alive with an impressive 3-1 over Lioli, and in the process dragged Tse Nala firmly into the relegation picture.
Today all eyes will be on Ratjomose to see if LDF can respond to LCS’s challenge when they host Maduma.