MASERU — Two first half goals from Salebone Lekhooa and Thapelo Tale helped Likhopo register a 2-0 victory over Mphatlalatsane in a premier league tie played at LCS Grounds yesterday. The former league champions welcome back the duo star striker Tale and Tumelo Khutlang who had gone AWOL after Likhopo refused to hand the duo a transfer clearance to join South African teams.
Tale had caught the attention of Cape Town Santos while Khutlang had been training with the development side of Moroka Swallows. Lekhoaoa opened the scoring on the 31st minute of the match — finishing off a well-taken free kick from Malefane Sepiriti to put his team ahead. Mphatlatsane had a tough time dealing with the talented and speedy duo of Makara Ntaitsane and Khutlang operating on the right and left flanks of Likhopo respectively.
Returning Tale extended Likhopo’s lead just before the break, using his speed to outsprint the Mphatlalatsane defence to give his team a 2-0 cushion. The second half started with Likhopo still being the better side dominating possession and creating more goal scoring chances. Poor finishing seemed to work against the former league champions as a number of their players squandered a plethora of good goal scoring chances to extend the lead.
Diminutive and tricky winger, Khutlang had a chance to put his name on the score sheet in the 57th minute but he put his header wide with the goalkeeper already beaten. Mphatlalatsane also had a few chances to get back into the game with Lejaha Monyooe being the main culprit after he missed good chances to find the back of the net. The visitors had another opportunity to score in the 63rd minute, but Mohapi Molisenyane failed to capitalise on a poor defending error by their opponents.
Likhopo coach, Bishop Molatoli, was pleased with the performance of his team especially the returning duo of Tale and Khutlang. “I think they both played well and we are happy now that they are back in the team,” Molatoli said. “They play an important role in the team and they will help us achieve our goals. Molatoli said the star duo are still free to join any team but of course, for the appropriate transfer fee.
Mphatlalatsane coach, Tšepo Hlojeng, felt his team failed to come to the party and were very poor. “We lacked confidence from the word go and we started panicking hence we ended up conceding easy goals,” Hlojeng said. Hlojeng said they are still aiming to maintain premier league status for the coming season although it is not going to be a walk in the park.
“We could have done better. We have to go back and correct our mistakes,” he said. The former Likuena skipper said they will work hard to protect their premier league status. Elsewhere, Linare beat Joy 2-1 in a match played in Hlotse. Joy is still winless and searching for their first win after eight matches. Bantu and LCS played a one-all draw as the Mafeteng based side finally conceded the first goal since the season started.
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