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Linare crush Likhopo

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Teboho Molapo

Likhopo . . . . . . . (0) 1

Linare . . . . . . . . (0) 3

MASERU — Thirty-one years in anyone’s book is a very long time — in football it is an eternity.

That’s how long Linare and its disciples have had to wait since they tasted the sweet glory of a league title.

But Tse Tala may not have to wait much longer after Moses Ramafole, Pita Matekane and Refiloe Potse fired them to a 3-1 win over Likhopo at the PTC Grounds yesterday.

The win moves Leribe’s green warriors to the top of the Vodacom Premier League, at least for 24 hours, with previous leaders LCS involved in a titanic clash against Bantu in Mafeteng this afternoon.

Linare now have six games left against Bantu, LCS, Matlama, Lioli LDF and Mabeoana and wins in all would secure them the championship.

“The competition is still very stiff; you can’t say anything is a guarantee at the moment,” was Linare coach Pitso Mosothoane’s response to such talk afterwards.

“I must congratulate my players so much; they played hard from the beginning to the end. Sometimes even when you lose and you have played like this you can feel sorry for the players. You might have thought that after conceding the equaliser their heads would drop, but they fought back,” a jubilant Mosothoane said.

Fight back Linare did.

But it wasn’t easy.

The game itself was one full of quality between two of Lesotho’s finest footballing sides.

The improved surface of the police training ground pitch also helped, and as a result the technical brilliance was also matched by a physical edge.

However as is usually the case when two teams are closely matched there were few chances, and the only opportunity of the first half came from Potse whose rasping free-kick flew over the bar on the stroke of half-time.

The second half started with much the same pattern before Lekhanya Lekhanya, Likhopo’s exciting playmaker, showed great skill and pace on the left before his shot was well saved by Phoka Matete.

Linare finally opened the scoring in the 65th minute after Ramafole coolly finished after a goalmouth scramble.

But Linare’s wild celebrations were short-lived as Makoanyane XI starlet Tsebang Lebata equalised in customary style six minutes later.

It seemed nothing was going Linare’s way in the desperate quest for three points with Likhopo also threatening to steal all three points.

But in the 87th minute substitute Tšiu Moroosi wriggled a pass to Matekane to poke past the despairing dive of Kananelo Makhoane.

The game was still not over with Likhopo still pressing for an equaliser, but then just seconds from time Refiloe Potse, who has been the heart of Tse Tala’s midfield all season, settled matters with a stunning long range drive.

In Teyateyaneng, Linare’s fellow title contenders LDF overcame Lioli 1-0 to maintain their push and join Tse Tala on 39 points atop the premiership.

But Linare didn’t care.

They are in pole position in the race for the M100 000 prize.

So will this be the season Linare finally end their championship drought?

“It’s still too early to say that,” Mosothoane said.

“While my aim is to win the league there is lot of football to be played — there are still many ups and downs to come.”

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