…as Bantu thump Majantja in LNIG quarterfinal
THE defending LNIG Top8 champions Matlama, edged LMPS 1-0 in the first leg of the quarterfinal at Setsoto Stadium yesterday afternoon.
A lone goal from Patrick Nyango who was making his debut appearance for Tse Putsoa this season was enough to give them an upper hand going into the return fixture next Sunday.
Matlama meant business from the word go and Phafa Tšosane could have opened the scoring within a minute from kickoff but the goalkeeper saved his strike.
The police outfit didn’t seat back as they pushed Matlama and came close to scoring on 15 minutes.
The Matlama backline was caught napping by LMPS forward Tšepo Seturumane who received the ball unmarked inside the penalty area but goalkeeper Kananelo Makhooane came to Matlama’s rescue as he parried the ball over the cross bar for a corner.
It was an end to end match with both sides pushing desperately.
Matlama midfielder Theletsane Makume had a chance to steal supporters’ hearts by giving them the much-needed goal after an exchange of passes with Motebang Sera inside the LMPS penalty area but goalkeeper Sekhoane Moerane came to the rescue saving the strike for a corner on the 25th minute.
Simunye, as LMPS are affectionately known, lost Seturumane six minutes before the half time due to an injury and was replaced by Monyatheli Ntobo.
LMPS started the second half the better of the two sides and Tšoarelo Mokoaleli saw his long-range curler narrowly missing the target on the 49th minute.
The supporters had to wait for the least 60 minutes before they could get a goal.
Ghanaian defender Nyango easily tapped home from a Jane Thabantšo cross.
LMPS once again came close to scoring soon afterwards but were let down by poor finishing.
Sello Tale, unmarked inside the penalty area, received Thapelo Fako’s cross down the left flank and his shot across the face of the goal missed the target on the 66th minute.
Matlama made their first substitute introducing veteran midfielder Bushy Moletsane for Tšosane on the 75th minute while LMPS introduced attacker Roboama Koloti for Tale a minute later.
Lack of concentration nearly cost LMPS further towards the end of the match.
Midfielder Katleho Mabetha lost the ball just outside the penalty area and was lucky that Thabantso’s shot hit the upright.
LMPS made their last change pulling out Mokoaleli for Relebohile Mabone on the 84th minute while Matlama made a double substitute pulling off Theletsane and Sera for Lehlomela Ramabele and Mabuti Potloane.
The changes were to be followed by drama as the referee Retšelisitsoe Molise blundered by issuing a second yellow card to Sera but did not send him off. When he was later alerted about his mistake, Sera had already been substituted and Ramabele was already on the field of play.
Matlama coach Thabile Secker said he was unhappy with his charges’ performance but said he would will take the win and build on it going forward.
“We have won the match but in an unconvincing way,” Secker said.
“I think LMPS played better than us but unfortunately couldn’t convert their chances.
“This win is very important for us as we were playing at home. We are happy that we didn’t concede so, we will go into the second leg with less pressure.”
LMPS coach Teele Ntšonyana applauded his charges for showing character against Matlama.
“I think we played well although there were a few problems here and there. However, we are still on a journey since we to make the combinations work and the evidence is there that Matlama are ahead of us. However, I want to applaud my players for showing character,” Ntšonyana said.
The former Likuena striker said he was unimpressed by the referee’s mix-up.
“For me that is cheating. If things were done accordingly, the other player was not supposed to have come in but we have already launched our protest to the relevant authorities,” he said.
In the first match, Bantu cruised past Majantja registering an emphatic 3-0 win courtesy of Lindokuhle Phungwula, Lazola Tjokotjokwana and Neo Mokhachane’s goals.