MASERU — Lioli’s title ambitions suffered a huge dent yesterday as Tse Nala was held to a goalless draw by Matlama in a Vodacom premier league match played in Teyateyaneng. This was the third successive draw for Tse Nala following draws against Qoaling Highlanders and Bantu in the last two weeks. The youthful Matlama side started the strongest of the two teams and their striker Mohau Khali failed to make use of numerous goal scoring opportunities created in the opening 20 minutes of the game to give his team the lead.
Lioli who were at home only grew in confidence in the second half of the game. Premier league joint top goal scorer, Tšepo Seturumane, who has been the source of goals for Tse Nala, was marked out of the game by the experienced duo of Sello Seholoholo and Nkau Lerotholi of Matlama. The left footed attacker had a quiet game in the first half of the match.
He only came to the party in the dying minutes of the match and had a few strikes on goal that were well dealt with by Matlama goalkeeper Isaiah Mosala.
The Lioli technical team introduced former youth international Montoeli Sonopo alongside Thuso Makoane in the last quarter of the game as they searched for the winning goal. The move nearly paid off in the 80th minute when a Makoane’s strike was cleared off the line by Matlama skipper Nkau Lerotholi. That incident sparked controversy as the Lioli players and their technical team protested to referee, Osias Koto, as they felt Lerotholi had used his hand to stop them ball.
Lioli coach, Lehlohonolo Thotanyana, said a draw was not a good result for his team in contest for the league title with Bantu.
“I feel that we failed to play according to our game plan to utilise the flanks to open the defence of our opponents,” Thotanyana said. “Poor officiating also played its part. They denied us a chance to go into the lead because a Matlama player used his hand to clear the ball from going into the net,” he said. The Lioli mentor said his team will soldier-on to the last game of the season.
“We dropped points in our last three games where we managed draws, but we will continue to fight until the end,” said Thotanayana. Matlama mentor, Mokoena Mohale, on the other hand felt a draw against Lioli was a good result for his team which is at the wrong end of the table and only playing their second game since a long suspension. “Our players did very well today and I’m very proud of them,” Mokoena said. “We came here to fight and they did exactly that to frustrate our opponents.
“We will take this result to our next match and I believe that we will grow in confidence from here,” he said.
He praised the youthful Matlama side for showing character and giving the Lioli side a run for their money.
Yesterday Vodacom premier league results:
LCS 0-0 Linare
Mpharane Celtic 1-3 Likhopo