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Matlama win again

Teboho Molapo

Lerotholi……….(0) 1

Matlama………..(1) 2


MASERU — Matlama continued their march towards the Vodacom Premier League title with a 2-1 win over a gallant Lerotholi side at the Central Prisons yesterday.

The win stretches Tse Putsoa’s lead at the top to 10 points — the widest margin all season — as they look to add the league to the Vodacom Soccer Spectacular crown they won last November.

But nevertheless, Matlama players will know they were in a tough match yesterday. Indeed, if it wasn’t for Sekonyela Khoahle’s late, own goal, it might have been a different story.

Playing in front of a sizeable crowd, both sides tried to play their customary possession football on a good Central Prisons pitch. The early exchanges, as a result, were tight and the only chance worth talking about inside the first 20 minutes, was a 16th minute header by Matlama’s Mohau Khali, which sailed over the bar.

But knowing the M100 000 prize that awaits the league champions come end of the season,  Tse Putsoa began to grab a foothold in the game and in the 29th minute, Tumelo Ntšoane did well to tip Thapelo Mokhehle’s in-swinging, left free-kick wide of the post.

Matlama’s dominance was finally rewarded in the 42nd minute when Lehlohonolo Mokhele out-jumped Lihale’s defence at the far post, to make it 1-0.

Two minutes later, Lerotholi playmaker Tšeliso Sejake fired a shot way over the bar, a sign of the unproductive half he had.

But in the second half, he was a different player and led a Lihale revival. The intensity of Matlama’s game dropped in the second period and this suited Lerotholi.

Slowly as the stop-start second half progressed, Lihale seemed the likelier side to score. With Teboho ‘Mota and Lebohang Molaoli providing a solid midfield base, Sejake was able to pull the strings. In the 62nd minute, he shot tamely at Liteboho Mokhesi after a mazy run. Matlama’s big guns, meanwhile, jammed and both Dlomo Monapathi and Litšepe Marabe were hauled off in the 65th minute after a lacklustre second half.

And when Sejake scored brilliantly in the 81st minute, it seemed Matlama’s 15-match unbeaten run was about to end. But four minutes from time, Khoahle headed Mokhele’s cross over Ntšoane, into his own net to send Matlama fans into frenzy.

Meanwhile, the identity of one of the two teams to be promoted to the Premiership from the Vodacom A-Division has been delayed.

Joint Southern Stream leaders Mabeoana and Arsenal have had their final matches, with Mohale’s Hoek Young Stars and Sefothafotha respectively, postponed. The matches were due to be played today but Mabeoana’s replay against Melele next Saturday, has meant the delay.

In the Northern Stream, the situation is simpler. Maduma and Mpharane Celtics are tied on points at the top of the log, meaning a straight shootout in today’s final round of fixtures. Maduma, who lead the table on goal difference, are away to neighbours Butha-Buthe Fast XI, while Celtics host Lifefo in Mpharane.


Yesterday’s Premiership results:

Lerotholi 1-2 Matlama; Swallows 2-2 Linare; Bantu 0-0 Likhopo; Joy vs Nyenye Rovers (match abandoned due to incessant rain).

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