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Matlama through to MGC semis

Moorosi Tsiane

MATLAMA put up a brave fight having to come from behind twice to beat LCS 3-2 and become the first team to advance to the semifinals of the MGC Spectacular at Setsoto Stadium yesterday.

Tse Putsoa booked a spot into the quarterfinals by beating Sefotha-fotha 5-4 on penalties after the match finished 1-1 earlier on the day.

LCS on the other hand had beaten Likhopo 4-1 on penalties after they also drawn 1-1 in the second match.

LCS opened the scoring 20 minutes into the match through Thabo Seakhoa who converted Makara Ntaitsane’s cross.

But LCS’ happiness was short lived after their goalkeeper Katiso Silas fouled Lehlomela Ramabele inside the penalty area to leave the referee Mokete Lebalang with no choice but to point to the spot.

The towering striker took responsibility and levelled matters for his side on the 23rd minute.

It was an end to end game with both sides searching for a goal that would put them close to glory of the guaranteed M100 000 appearance fee for the semi-finals that will be played next weekend at Mantšonyane in Thaba-Tseka.

Five minutes before the break, LCS were awarded a penalty after Matlama defender Nketsi Rankhasa handled the ball inside the penalty area. Motiki Mohale came forward and put LCS back in the lead and the match went for the break.

Two minutes before the break, LCS suffered a setback after attacker Lehlohonolo Lenka had to be withdrawn due to an injury and was replaced by James Mothotjeloa.

Matlama returned from the break more determined to win the match and it took them 10 minutes to level matters with a brilliant one-man goal from Theletsane Makume who evaded LCS defenders before easily finding the back of the net.

The Thabile Secker coached outfit kept on knocking on the LCS goals and their efforts paid off on the 62nd minute when Phafa Tšosane scored to put them in the lead for the first time in the match.

Tšosane collected the ball after Silas parried Makume’s shot from outside the box and he converted it.

LCS made a double change introducing Motlalepula Chabeli and Percy Mohami for Seakhoa and Mosiuoa Boseeka on the 68th minute.

A minute later Matlama made their first change pulling out Bushy Moletsane for Mabuti Potloane.

The two substitutes brought a different dimension into the LCS game and they started to show more hunger going forward.

Masheshena came close to equalising on the 75th minute when Mothotjeloa received the ball inside the penalty area unmarked but goalkeeper Kananelo Makhooane came to Matlama’s rescue as he saved the shot for a corner.

Matlama made a forced change on the 78th minute with Moteloa Khemisi having to be substituted after pulling a muscle and Reitumetsi Linkoane took his place.

The last substitute for Matlama saw a tactical change of defender Michael Mireku coming in for attacking midfielder Tšosane two minutes before time.

LCS assistant coach Shalane Lehohla was disappointed with the loss and bemoaned the absence of his key players, who are in South Africa on national duty where Likuena are in a high-performance training camp in Pretoria preparing for their AFCON qualifier against Cape Verde next Sunday.

“I think we played well despite the fact that some of our key members (Sepiriti Malefane, Setho Moshoeshoe and Sam Ketsekile) were not around due to national team commitments. We had to use our fringe players and also playing two matches in one day worked against us,” Lehohla said.

Secker, on the other hand, was full of praises for his side for showing character for coming from behind twice in the match.

“I am happy with the results and I am also happy that my players showed character because during the half time, we talked about our weaknesses and the boys delivered, so I am proud of them,” Secker said.

Matlama will have to wait for today’s overall winner to know which team they will be travelling with to Mantšonyane next weekend to play two lower division teams from Thaba-Tseka as the celebrations for the Mantšonyane project continues.

The Mantšonyane Project is the brainchild of MGC founder Sam Matekane where the company has built primary and secondary schools, sports facilities and a church for the community as part of its social corporate initiative (CSI).

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