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MATLAMA CLINCH TITLE

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Teboho Molapo

 

LCS……………(1) 1

Matlama……..(0) 0

 

MASERU — Matlama are at last the new kings of Lesotho football — never mind they almost gave away a championship they should have wrapped up four weeks ago.

Yet they could not even play like champions as they went down 1-0 to LCS at the Central Prison.

Luckily for them, Lioli, the only team that could beat them to the Vodacom Premier League title, faltered across town.

Lioli’s goal-less draw against Bantu at Bambatha Tsita Sports Arena meant Tse Nala could no longer overhaul Matlama’s tally regardless of what happens in the season-closing matches next weekend.

The Central Prison ruptured into scenes of wild celebrations when news of Lioli’s result filtered in and was announced by a DJ playing at the ground.

Anyone passing through the Central Prison ground could have been forgiven for thinking Matlama had walloped the home side.

In the end it was probably Matlama’s sweetest defeat after they appeared to be crumbling in the season’s run-in.

Matlama had squandered an 11-point advantage over Lioli as they lost two of their last three games and failed to score in any of them.

Lioli’s failure against Bantu yesterday was thus a big relief for the Maseru giants.

It is now nine championships for the Glamour Boys, pulling them one ahead of LDF to make them Lesotho’s most successful side.

“I’m very happy to see Matlama take this title after such a long time,” an ecstatic Matlama coach Ntebele Taole said after the game.

“This is the most important trophy in our football and I’m happy we have brought it to the masses of Matlama you see here today.”

But Taole admitted he was disappointed by the manner his charges had appeared to disintegrate in their title-deciding matches.

“I’m disappointed by our loss,” Taole said. “I didn’t want to take the league through a draw or a loss and I also didn’t want to depend on Lioli losing.”

Tse Putsoa went behind early in the first half after Katleho Lethabela scored a disputed goal for LCS, themselves desperate for a win to keep their top-four hopes alive.

Matlama should have equalised 10 minutes before the break when Khoto Sesinyi’s mistake allowed Litšepe Marabe to tee up Mohau Khali, but the winger’s tame shot, with the goal begging, was cleared off the line.

Two minutes after the break Khali had the goal at his mercy again, but this time round he was denied by a superb one-handed save by Kholoue Phasumane as Matlama huffed and puffed to break down Masheshena.

The high-tempo match, which saw red cards for LCS players Kutloisiso Nthonyana and Ramashalane Taeli, looked as though it would boil over in the 61st minute when tempers flared after Phasumane was involved in a clash with substitute Hlomelang Theko.

When tensions were calmed and play resumed, Matlama continued their onslaught on Masheshena’s goal to no avail.

Matlama feared the championship race would go to the wire, but then the news came: Lioli had failed to beat Bantu.

At last, Tse Putsoa now rule Lesotho’s football once more.

 

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Yesterday’s results

LCS 1-0 Matlama, Lioli 0-0 Bantu, Botha-Bothe Roses 0-1 Likhopo, Rovers 0-4 Linare

 

Today’s fixture

Joy vs Likhopo (Hlotse)

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