Defending Vodacom Premier League champions Lioli opened their 2015/16 account with an emphatic 3-0 win against Sundawana at LCS Ground yesterday.
All three goals came in the second half through Thuso Shuping, Lekhanya Lekhanya and Masoabi Nkoto.
After losing midfielder Montoeli Sonopo in the 5th minute to injury, Lekhanya rose from the bench as a replacement and did not disappoint as he was to score one of Lioli’s goals.
Yet it was Sundawana who enjoyed possession in the first half, only to be let down by decision-making in the last third of the pitch.
However, Mosholu Mokhothu’s charges were a changed side in the second half, proving their superiority with deft touches that mesmerised their opponents.
Five minutes into the second half, Shuping placed the ball into the far corner, beating Sundawana goalkeeper Chiboko Molefe to break the deadlock.
Sundawana striker Bakary Coulibaly then squandered an opportunity to equalize on the hour when his shot sailed over the bar after receiving a through-pass from Themba Mzamane.
Eight minutes later, Lekhanya pounced after Johannes Molapo failed to clear the ball to make it 2-0 for Lioli.
In an attempt to get into the game, Sundawana introduced Mokoena Motsoari for Koloti Raboana while Tau Qobose came in for Mzamane.
Lioli also made their substitutions, with Obakeng Modirwa and Junior Maba making way for Masoabi and Bafokeng Mosala.
Masoabi then headed home Mosala’s cross 10 minutes before the final whistle to wrap-up three points for Tse Nala.
In a post-match interview, Mokhothu said he was not impressed by the way his team played in the first half.
“We did not start the match like I expected and I think Montoeli’s injury affected us because we failed to penetrate through the middle and he was supposed to give us options going forward. But I talked to the players at half-time and they came back the better team in the second half, Mokhothu said.
“This was a must-win match for us and I am happy for the three points. I think this is a great start to our title-defence.”
Sundawana coach, Freese Ntene, said he was disappointed by the result, but not the overall performance of his team.
“We conceded very soft goals and the technical team must shoulder the blame for it. But all in all, I am happy with how the team played,” Ntene said.
In other league matches played yesterday on the first day of the season, Likhopo hammered Linare 4-1 in Maputsoe, while Tšepo George’s own-goal give Kick4Life a 1-0 win against LCS at LCS Ground.