Matlama beat Rovers 3-1 in a thrilling Vodacom Premier League match played at Machabeng Ground in Roma yesterday.
Motebang Sera, Jane Thabantso and Kefuoe Mahula were on target for Matlama while second-half substitute Rapaulina Maime scored Rovers’ consolation goal.
The match started at a canter, with the visitors making their intention very clear from the word go as they piled pressure on the Rovers defence in search of an early goal.
But the Dynamites, as Rovers are affectionately known, did not sit back as they fought hard to match their rampaging opponents although this proved very difficult.
Sera then broke the deadlock in the 26th minute when he chested down a Nkesi Rankhasa cross from the left wing, kept his composure and went for the far post on the turn.
Four minutes later, Matlama were at it again and this time, caught Rovers on the counter from a corner.
Rankhasa received the ball outside the penalty area and directed it to Hopolang Mohlalefi who wasted no time and shot at goal, forcing Rovers goalkeeper Selebeli Letele to make a double save before Thabantso extended the lead from the keeper’s parry.
Then frustration started to creep into the Rovers team, making things easy for Matlama especially in the middle of the park controlled by Kefuoe Mahula and Relebohile Mabone.
The match went to the break with Matlama comfortable on the ball, and immediately after the recess, Rovers made a double substitution of Rapaulina Maime and Lekhooana Moroke who came in for Hlompho Masao and Rethabile Lempe, respectively.
Matlama also made a change by introducing Matooane Mokhothu for Hopolang Mohlalefi who had a very quiet game.
Maime combined well with Letsoko Leboela in midfield for Rovers and the duo started creating some goalscoring chances for Rovers, but their efforts were undone by poor finishing.
However, Moroke was unlucky to see his well-timed shot from range hit the cross bar, and two minutes later Leboela ballooned over the bar a few metres from the penalty area.
Matlama, on the other hand, kept on pushing for the third goal and thought they had found it, but Phafa Tsosane’s volley hit the cross bar in the 57th minute.
Rovers were punished for their goalkeeper’s mistake on the hour when Mahula intercepted Letele’s pass and calmly placed it into an empty net to make it three for Tse Putsoa.
The goal appeared to drain Rovers’ energy but the university team was saved the blushes when Maime was brought down inside the penalty area by Matlama goalkeeper Thabiso Lichaba in the 90th minute, leaving the referee with no choice but to point to the spot.
Maime stepped up to score his side’s only goal.
In a post-match interview, Matlama coach Moses Maliehe said he was happy for the win after losing 1-0 to LDF last weekend.
“It was not an easy match because we came here after that LDF loss in the Top8 quarterfinal first-leg tie but I am happy for my charges; they showed character today,” Maliehe said.
“It is important that we win our matches because like any other team we are here to compete and are chasing our 10th league title so it is only by winning that we can achieve that.”
Rovers coach Pule Khojane was not an impressed man after the match, saying his charges failed to come to the party.
“We only started playing in the second half and I can’t even tell why. I think my players’ attitude coming into this match was not just it. It is not right that we keep losing points like this,”Khojane said.
In other premier league matches played yesterday, Mphatlalatsane held Liphakoe to a three-all stale mate in Maputsoe, while Likila and Liphakoe played to a goalless draw in Butha-Buthe.
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