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Matlama win Econet Spectacular

Moorosi Tsiane

SECOND half goals from Moteloa Khemisi and Lebajoa Mosehlenyane helped Matlama ease to a 2-0 victory to bag the Econet Spectacular tournament at Setsoto Stadium in Maseru yesterday.

The tournament is bankrolled by the Premier League sponsors and all the 14 Premier League teams were given a chance to vie for a spot in the competition through an SMS voting platform.

Liphakoe got 20 178 votes while second placed Linare got 19 297. Majantja and Matlama came third and fourth with 18 715 and 18 151 votes respectively by the close of voting at midnight on Wednesday.

Matlama cruised into the final as they thumped struggling Majantja 4-0 in a first semifinal before Linare got the better of Liphakoe beating them 2-0 to book a date with Matlama in the final.

It was Matlama who showed much hunger from the early stages of the match and Linare were saved by the cross bar from a well struck Phafa Tšosane shot from just outside the box four minutes into the final.

For some time, it became a battle of the midfielders as Matlama’s trio of Tšosane, Mabuti Potloane and Kefuoe Mahula came against Linare’ s Letuka Mosehlenyane and Basia Tseki.

Matlama once again came close to scoring through striker Lehlomela Ramabele who intercepted Linare goalkeeper Fabian Ovono’s pass but the later squandered the chance to put his side in the lead on the 27th minute.

Ramabele missed another chance on the half hour mark after receiving the ball unmarked inside the penalty area but failed to find an empty net.

Linare could have grabbed the lead a few minutes before the break but Junior Maba’s free header after a miscommunication mess between Matlama goalkeeper Kananelo Makhooane with Lisema Lebokollane saw them both miss a Mosehlenyane was cleared on the goal line by Khotso Molulela. The match went to the break on a deadlock.

Linare made their first substitute immediately from the break as skipper Rethabile Selonyane came on for Thabiso Khoritsoe.

Matlama made their first substitute six minutes later introducing Bushy Moletsane for Ramabele while Linare introduced defender Seidu Kassim for Thembani Nhlapho.

A while later Matlama introduced Teboho Lillane for Mahula.

The introduction of both Moletsane and Lillane started to bear fruits for Tse Putsoa who gained total control of the midfield.

Tšosane was denied a goal from a one on one situation by Ovono on 54 minutes after a defence splitting Potloane pass.

Linare’s third substitute saw Billy Pulumo coming in for Paseka Lekena on 63 minutes.

Khemisi finally broke the deadlock as he easily tapped in a Lebajoa Mosehlenyane cross after the Linare backline were caught napping by a counter attack on 65 minutes.

The game became one sided with Matlama dominating possession forcing Linare to play deep into their own half.

The pressure forced Linare to make mistakes and it was not long before Tsolo Moeketsi handled the ball inside box and the referee Mathabo Kolokotoane pointed to the spot.

Mosehlenyane put up a brave face and put the ball behind Ovono who had earlier saved a penalty in the match against Liphakoe.

Former Kick4Life player Fidel Ntoya replaced Mosehlenyane while Linare pulled out Basia Tseki for Moko Molao. Nzenze Nkulu was also introduced for Maba while Matlama introduced fans favorite Thobejane Letuka for Khemisi, Katleho Molkeo for Tšosane while Linare completed their substitutes by introducing Realeboha Tsese for Mosehlenyane.

Matlama coach Thabile Secker said he was happy to win his first trophy with the club after he was appointed coach at the club last month.

“This win is what we needed because we are heading to the opening of a league so it will help to boost my players’ confidence.

“I am happy with how we played in these two matches. We have showed a lot of improvement and tactically we are ok. But above all I am happy that now we can score goals like today where we scored six in two matches that shows there is something that we are doing right,” Secker said.

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