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Matlama stun Likhopo to go top


Mikia Kalati

Matlama came from a goal down to beat Likhopo 2-1 in a blistering Maseru derby played at Pitso Ground yesterday.

Likhopo had not been beaten this season going into yesterday’s match and were top of the 14-team premier league table while Matlama were third and Lioli were second.

But with yesterday’s win, Matlama leapfrogged both Likhopo and Lioli into first place with 19 points, but Lioli, who are on 16 points, could topple Tse Putsoa should they beat LCS this afternoon.

In yesterday’s match, both sides played an ill-tempered but high-tempo passing game that had fans at the edge of their seats.

Veteran midfielders Tefo Maipato and Bokang Mothoana were on top of the situation for Likhopo in the opening stage of the match, but Matlama’s youthful side soon found their rhythm to even the contest.

However, none of the teams could break the deadlock before halftime, with the breakthrough only coming in the 57th minute through Likhopo’s Lehlomela Ramabele.

The hitman capitalised on Matlama’s defensive error that saw goalkeeper Makhetha Thakeli fumbling the ball—only for it to land at the feet of Ramabele who easily slotted home.

The goal brought more urgency into Matlama, and a long effort from Kefuoe Mahula in the 69th minute bounced off the crossbar, but Motebang Sera was well-position to guide the ball into the back of the net.

But Sera’s goal was not going to be the last of the match as second-half substitute Tumelo Maine stole the show in the 86th minute with a beautiful free kick that handed Matlama the win and left Likhopo still with 17 points.

Matlama coach, Moses Maliehe, told the Sunday Express he was happy his team had managed to come back and win the match despite making “a lot of errors”.

“I’m happy with the three points, but out first-half performance was very disappointing because we made the same mistakes which cost us in the last weekend’s Independence Cup tournament,” Maliehe said.

“However, I cannot blame the goalkeeper for the mistake he made in Likhopo’s goal because such things happen in football.”

On the other hand, Likhopo assistant coach, Tšeliso Mofolo, said the defeat was disappointing as it came at the death.

“We made silly mistakes towards the end of the match and they cost us the three points,” Mofolo said.

“It’s very disappointing, but I believe this was a learning curve for our young boys.”

In another match played yesterday, Mphatlalatsane demolished Kick4Life 3-0 in Maputsoe for their first win of the season.

Today’s fixtures

Rovers v Bantu (Roma), LCS v Lioli (LCS Ground), LDF v Linare (Ratjomose Barracks)




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