LDF…………. (2) 2
Lioli………… (0) 1
MASERU — LDF yesterday finally got the better of Lioli to break a two-year hoodoo and tout their credentials as serious contenders for this season’s Vodacom Premier League title.
This was Sohle Sohle’s first win over the Teyateyaneng giants in all competitions since Valentine’s Day in 2008.
Last season Lioli completed a league double against the army side.
But yesterday, on a cloudless afternoon, LDF finally got it right to bag the maximum points at their Ratjomose cauldron.
Lioli, known for their pretty play, had started lively but it was Sohle-Sohle who drew first blood in the ninth minute.
It was a simple goal.
LDF midfielder Bongata Kori lifted the ball over the defence and, with Lioli expecting an offside call, Mojalefa Nkhabu followed up Mojela Letsie’s shot to open the scoring.
Letsie, arguably the most under-rated player in the country, was a thorn in Lioli’s backside throughout and it was no surprise that it was his presence that contributed to the second goal.
The visitors’ defence, attracted to the muscular striker like bees to flowers, allowed a cross to reach left-back Nkhethoa Lengana who was unmarked on the edge of the box.
Lengana’s cross-shot then struck Shetsane Ramoseeka’s hand and LDF’s evergreen warhorse Malefetsane Pheko, now 37, tucked away the subsequent 21st-minute penalty.
From there the pattern of play was set.
Lioli, cheered on by their maroon army, controlled possession while LDF, haunted by ghosts from the past, were just happy to defend.
Tse Nala tried their best and playmaker Malebanye Ramoabi’s two long-range shots drew good saves from LDF keeper Relebohile Qejoa.
But LDF, marshalled by defensive rocks Tumane Lethakha and Lesoetsa Maliele, were satisfied to allow Tse Nala to shoot from long range and deny the speedy Seenyane Nthejane space to patrol.
A potential turning point was missed by Lioli in the 28th minute when Sello ‘Muso shot straight at Qejoa when it seemed easier to score.
The match could have changed but instead Tse Nala coach Halemakale Mahlaha cast an increasingly frustrated figure on the touchline, complaining furiously to match officials about Sohle-Sohle supporters dancing behind Lioli’s goals in the second half.
Mahlaha was also unhappy with the lack of protection for his players.
Lebalang Mokete is the youngest referee on the Premier League panel and at times he was overwhelmed by the encounter and LDF players got away with numerous dangerous tackles.
Lioli did get back into the game in the 78th minute when substitute Montoeli Senopo finished well.
In his time on the field the exciting Makoanyane XI winger showed why Lioli spent the off-season chasing his signature.
But it never looked like Lioli would score an equaliser even after LDF’s Lefa Khooa received his customary red card for abusive language.
Lioli had one final kick when they had a strong shout for a penalty turned down after Maliele brought down Nthejane in the last minute.
At the end of the day it was back to the drawing board for the men from Teyateyaneng, and back on the winning trail for the Ratjomose soldiers.
LDF 2-1 Lioli, Linare 2-2 Likhopo, Mabeoana 1-1 Swallows
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