Lioli yesterday registered their third, straight win of the season after edging LMPS 1-0 in a pulsating Vodacom Premier League tie played at PTC Ground.
Jerry Kamela’s 20th minute goal helped the champions cement their place at the top of the 14-team premiership table.
The highly entertaining match was fast-paced from the first blow of the whistle, with Lioli in particular, pressing for an early goal.
And the TY outfit nearly found the net two minutes into the match when Obakeng Modirwa’s shot inside the penalty area narrowly missed the upright post.
Three minutes later, LMPS goalkeeper Matebele Mareka failed to deal with Lekhanya Lekhanya cross, but Kamela failed to capitalise on the blunder and failed to hit the target.
However, the match had to be stopped for five minutes soon after as LMPS defender Solomon Lefuma was being attended to after colliding with the goalkeeper when trying to clear the ball.
After resumption, Lioli kept on piling the pressure, but the LMPS backline stood firm.
However, 20 minutes into the match, Lekhanya, Junior Maba and Bafokeng Mosala exchanged quick passes and then found Kamela unmarked in the six-yard box, who blasted the ball home to break the deadlock.
Five minutes later, Lioli were forced to make a substitution after Modirwa pulled a muscle and Thuso Shuping came in for him.
Despite trailing to Kamela’s goal, Simunye, as LMPS are affectionately known, did not despair, and striker Tefa Makhoana was unlucky when his free-header from Tanki Makhele’s cross narrowly missed the target in the 37th minute.
With the match delicately poised at the halftime break, LMPS came back for the second half a changed side, with former Lioli forward, Tšepo Seturumane and Makhooana a constant threat.
But the pair could not breach the Lioli defence, in which goalkeeper Liteboho Mokhehle was outstanding.
In the 63rd minute, LMPS introduced Mohau Nkuebe for Makhele as they searched for an equalizer.
But it was Lioli who came close to doubling their advantage, only for Maba’s well-placed shot to hit the post in the 79th minute.
Mosala and Kamela then made way for Nkoto Masoabi and Basia Makepe in the 83rd and 90th minute for Lioli, but the scoreline remained 1-0.
After the match, Lioli coach Mosholu Mokhothu said he was happy with the result but not how his team played.
Mokhothu noted the absence of injured midfielders Tšoanelo Koetle and Bushy Moletsane, had affected his team’s rhythm.
“I am happy for the third win in a row but we did not have a good game at all especially in the second half. We were just lucky that our defence was outstanding so they failed to penetrate.
“The absence of Koetle, who picked an injury while on national duty last weekend, was the main reason why we could not click. Bushy’s absence has also affected our play,” he said.
LMPS coach Mahao ‘Bomber’ Matete said he was impressed by his side’s performance, especially in the second stanza.
“We were playing a good side but my boys showed character. I am satisfied with how they played. We just lost concentration and gave away that easy goal in the first half,” Matete said.
“Going forward, I think we have to work more on our finishing because we really need to bury the chances that we create.”
Elsewhere yesterday, LCS beat Linare 1-0 at LCS Ground while Letsoko Leboela was on target as Rovers edged Kick4Life 1-0 at NUL ground.
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