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Matlama maintain fine run

Moorosi Tsiane

MASERU — Matlama maintained their im­pressive start to the new premier league season with a 1-0 win over LMPS for their fourth successive victory of the 2013/14 league in a tie played at Pitso ground yes­terday. A Nkau Lerotholi’s header on the 48th minute and the only goal of the match helped Tse Putsoa to continue with their fine run in the new season.

Lerotholi out-jumped LMPS defend­ers to put his team in the lead after their goalkeeper, Lekunutu Tšoeunyana failed to deal with a well taken Matlama free kick. This was also the fourth victory since Lehlohonolo Mokhele and Sello Seholoholo were appointed caretaker coaches of the club following the dismissal of former men­tor, Mokoena Mohale.

Matlama looked the better team from the word go with the midfield combination of Tefo “Chigo” Maipato and Nkopane Ntoi dictating play in the middle of the park. The country’s most successful side were without their star midfield duo of Pali Tšalong who is nursing an injury and Pha­fa Tšosane who is away with work commit­ments.

Matlama seem to have recovered from their last season’s disastrous campaign that saw them fail to secure a top four fin­ish. Maipato who joined the club from Bantu in the off-season gave a man of the match performance. Maipato struggled to get game time at Bantu last season leading to him coming back to his home team as he hopes to re­vive his once promising career.

Tse Putsoa, as Matlama are affectionately known, have collected 12 points from their opening four matches after four back-to-back victories over Mphatlalatsane, Melele, Nyenye Rovers and LMPS. The win took Matlama to the summit of the Vodacom premier league table, but they could lose the top spot to Lioli who are in action against Joy in Leribe later today.

LMPS had a poor first half and failed to threaten Matlama in the first 45 minutes of the game. The police side’s fortunes looked likely to change in the second half after the intro­duction of speedy winger, Peter Tale, who was a threat down the right flank. Tale replaced Rehopotsoe Mohlabi. The diminutive winger had a chance to draw his team level from an indirect free kick in the 70th minute.

Matlama caretaker coach, Mokhele, was full of praises for his team after they se­cured their fourth straight win since the start of the new season. “My boys played very well and I am very satisfied with the result. I feel that we could have scored more goals because we created a lot of chances, but we were not lethal in front of goal,” Mokhele said.

“The team did not perform well last sea­son and players are determined to do well this season and our last three games show the determination to bring back the glory days. LMPS mentor, Lelia Makubakuba, was a disappointed man as his team slumped to their third loss in four matches. “We played well, but lost concentra­tion in the last third of the pitch. We have been struggling to get it right in attack as we struggle to score goals,” said Makuba­kube.

He told this paper during the post-match interview that they will have to go back to the drawing board to correct their mistakes. Meanwhile, Qoaling Highlanders also beat Nyenye Rovers 1-0 in the earlier match played at the same venue. Former premier league champions, LCS, overcame their poor start to the 2013/13 season with a 4-1 win over league rookies in a match played in Qacha’s Nek.

LDF also still unbeaten since the start of the campaign were held to a goalless draw by league new boys Mphatlalatsane.

Yesterday Premier league results:

Qoaling Highlanders 1-0 Nyenye Rovers

Matlama 1-0 LMPS

Melele 1-4 LCS

Mphatlalatsane 0-0 LDF

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