MASERU – Lady Luck has been in Teyateyaneng this past week, frolicking with Premiership champions Lioli.
First, it was Thursday’s decision by the Premier League’s to replay that game against Matlama, where Lioli were trailing 0-3 and with no realistic chance of victory, then this, a victory Tse Nala barely deserved – courtesy of a fortuitous own goal.
For the record, two Masheshena chances were scrambled off the line as LCS tried to force a way— first past Pompo Shoai, and then Mohau Kuenane— with no luck.
Both teams had come into the match under pressure, champions Lioli off two disappointing results and LCS knowing they would all-but be out of the title race should they lose.
The beginning to the match was as cagey, a low-key affair, with a sparse crowd and little action on the lush Central Prisons grass. Indeed, it took until the 23rd minute for a shot at either goal when Thabo Masualle’s weak shot hit the side-netting.
But from then on, Masheshena began to impose themselves, showing the life that Mafa Ramakau seems to have breathed into the side.
Ramashalane Taeli’s skills, once more, had purpose and the touch of Lesotho’s most expensive player Lawrence Molengoane – who had a shot cleared off the line in the 40th minute – more direction.
Their passing was crisper and the set-up of their team was more fluid. Yet it wasn’t LCS who took the lead but Lioli after 33 minutes.
Against the run of play, Lehlohonolo Mpopo’s menacing left-field cross missed teammate Malebanye Ramoabi at the near post but struck LCS left-back Lekhotho Raboshabane, to loop almost in slow motion over a bemused Kholoue Phasumane.
With that goal, the match exploded into life and the supporters magically multiplied.
Within 10 minutes of the second half Lioli’s Thabile Secker, who knows the Central Prisons well, had ghosted into two wonderful, goal-scoring positions. But Secker is a defensive player and his finishing showed it; the best chance was when he headed wide in the 57th minute.
Thereafter, it was all LCS.
In the 55th minute, Khoto Sesinyi hit the side-netting from a good position. In the 62nd minute, Shoai did brilliantly to claw-out Thulo Ranchobe’s goal-bound header, then 11 minutes later, Ranchobe’s chip scraped the top of the bar.
By this time, Lioli were just relying on counter-attacks, and although they did have a few half chances, it was LCS who looked the more threatening side.
But all the luck favoured Lioli yesterday and Motlatsi Rantja’s shot was cleared off the line in the 86th minute.
Yesterday’s full results:
LCS 0-1 Lioli; LMPS 2-1 LDF; Joy 1-1 Mphatlalatsane; Rovers 2-3 Majantja; Nyenye Rovers 2-1 Likhopo; Linare 3-0 Butha-Buthe Roses; Bantu 0-0 Lerotholi Polytechnic; Swallows 0-1 Matlama.