MATLAMA maintained their grip on the top spot of the log standings by beating Kick4Life 2-0 in a Vodacom Premier League match at the LCS ground yesterday.
Following the win, Matlama is comfortably leading the pack with 44 points from 18 games while their nearest rivals, Bantu, are on 37 points from 16 points. This means that Bantu can cut Matlama’s lead to just a point if they won their two games in hand.
The log leaders came into the game highly motivated after their narrow 1-nil triumph over LCS last weekend. On the other hand, Kick4Life were playing their first match since July when the league was suspended in the wake of the rise in Covid-19 infections.
The first five minutes were nothing to write home about as the two teams appeared content on sizing each other without any goalmouth action.
Matlama’s Thabo Matšoele made the first attempt of the day when he fired from a distance on 8 minutes. However, his strike was easily dealt with by Kick4Life goalkeeper, Liteboho Mokhehle.
A few minutes later, Matlama striker Teboho Pita spurned a chance to give Tse Putsoa an early lead when he directed his shot past the left post.
Kick4life almost made him pay on 19 minutes but Tšeliso Botsane squandered a gilt-edged one-on-one opportunity.
The Old Europa outfit missed another opportunity when Mohlomi Makhetha headed over from a Teboho Montlha free kick.
It was goalless at the break and at the start of the second half, Matlama brought in striker Khoanyane Mokoena for the misfiring Pita.
Kick4life made of their own bringing in Mongezi Mologovane for Botsane.
But it was the Seapoint outfit who broke the deadlock on 50 minutes. Mokoena turned out to be a super-sub with a goal on the follow-up after Mokhehle had failed to deal with Khemisi’s strike.
Kick4Life’s misery was completed 20 minutes later when Khemisi doubled Matlama’s lead. Somehow, the Kick4life backline had switched off and left the striker unmarked. He had the simplest of tasks after being picked out in the box by Lerotholi Zwane from the right.
Kick4Life made their second substitution on the 73rd minute with Montlha making way for Molapo Thapelo. A minute earlier their captain, Teboho Lekhooa’s effort hit the woodwork, thus denying them what would have been a consolation.
In a bid to see off the match, Matlama made a double change bringing in Theletsane Makume for captain Phafa Tšosane and Molefe Moiketsi for Khemisi.
The former champions held out for a well-deserved victory. In his post-match interview, Matlama coach, Molebatsi Mothobi, said his charges were full value for their win as they had played better than they did in their previous encounter with LCS.
“We played better today; we had done our homework by analysing our opponents. We were much stronger in the second half and we got our goals,” Mothobi said.
With that being their last game of the year, he said his team would take a break before regrouping early next month.
Kick4Life coach, Motebang Makhetha, said his boys had given it their all considering that this was their first competitive match after a long break. He said while they had a good first half, the lack of match fitness began to tell as they tapered off in the second half.
“We did well in the first half and we could have scored. But unfortunately, things didn’t go our way. We were playing a team that had upper hand as they had already played a game. We will have to go back to the drawing board and prepare for next year,” Makhetha said.
Meanwhile, LMPS and Bantu match had been scheduled for yesterday at Ratjomose Ground was called off due to the water-logged pitch after the heavy rains that have been pounding Maseru in recent days.