MASERU — LMPS don’t want to see Lioli, period.
Or else they go wild.
Something in Tse Nala’s maroon colours just seems to rub the police side up the wrong way.
It is now 11 matches, spanning three years, since Lioli last beat Simunye in any competition.
That run includes spankings in the 2008 Imperial Top 8 final and last year’s MGC Supa 8 semi-final.
On the evidence of yesterday’s encounter, this dubious record is set to continue a little longer.
The Nthane Brothers Holdings Independence Cup kicked off yesterday with a better than expected afternoon that boasted a healthy crowd and at times some classy football.
Perhaps that should be expected whenever Lesotho’s top four teams collide, but the sponsors will no doubt be relieved the tournament actually started after it was suddenly moved on Friday evening from Setsoto Stadium to Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena.
This is Lesotho, and things like that should be expected.
Yesterday both games started late, there was dust galore and somewhere in between the match officials got their kit mixed up.
At least the football was enjoyable.
Earlier in the day league champions Matlama and LDF played to a hard-fought 1—1 draw.
Returning Tse Putsoa hero Litšepe Marabe capped Matlama’s domination of the first half with a fine solo goal.
But in the second half Sohle-Sohle mentor Motheo Mohapi changed things around and he was rewarded when Mojela Letsie punished some sloppy defending by Matlama to equalise in the 63rd minute.
But the main course of the day was the tie between LMPS and Lioli, two teams with a history and with the loudest support yesterday.
Despite early Lioli dominance it was Simunye who scored when Mabula Khafa rifled a left-footed cannonball into Mohau Kuenane’s goal in the 14th minute in what would be LMPS’s only shot on target all game.
Lioli’s cause looked like it would be helped when Mokhethi Matšora was sent off for a hack at Lioli captain Thabo Masualle in the 32nd minute.
But this only served to galvanise Simunye’s defence, something they do very well.
Bota Ramantsoe was a pest in midfield while Sheli Ramoseka was a rock in defence.
Even when the floodlights came on in the second half there wasn’t much of a difference as Lioli didn’t create enough panic to bother unflappable LMPS goalkeeper Lekunutu Tšoeunyane.
Indeed it remains Lioli’s biggest criticism that they are unable to turn possession into pressure, while their lack of a striker to lead the line was again in evidence.
Of course there were plenty of “oohs and ahs” in the last 10 minutes as Lioli huffed and puffed.
But the Teyateyaneng giants have to go back to the drawing board, and maybe better still to a sangoma to find a magic potion that will help them to beat Simunye.
Yesterday Lioli were handsomely beaten on and off the field by LMPS who are now in pole position to win the M22 000 Independence Cup jackpot and retain their “Top Four” crown.
By the end of the tournament on Monday, the team on top of the mini-league table will be crowned champions.