Thousands of Rollers' fans who travelled to the Kgatleng capital could not believe their eyes when their side succumbed to a 5-4 defeat in the penalty shootout. Both sides were locked at 2-2 in regulation time.
The defeat left Rollers' supporters in tears. As expected, accusations flew thick and fast with coach Dickson Ngwenya in the eye of the storm.
They accused the Zambian tactician of not applying himself competently during the game thus making ineffective substitutions, which in the end cost the team. The result might put the Rollers' management under pressure and cost Ngwenya his job. The Coca-Cola Cup was Rollers' last hope of silverware this year.
The last time Rollers supporters smiled was in 2005 when they won the Coke Cup and Premier League double. Since then, it has been tears all the way as Rollers became a laughing stock. The loss to Buffaloes made things worse.
Some supporters pointed accusations at the management saying that it is time they are shown the door. They pointed out that some decisions of the executive committee are wrong.
They cited the transfer of defenders Boniface Makolo and Gabriel Bokhutlo. Rollers fielded a relatively new defence at the weekend and at some stage during the game, there were signs of inexperience at the back. Rollers lacked a leader in defence and could have been punished if they were playing against experienced opposition. Goalkeeper Lesego 'Chokri' Moeng did not help things as he was suspect throughout the game.
He struggled in arranging his defence and often failed to cut crosses. Being the most experienced campaigner on the field, one would have expected Moeng to guide his team from the back.
Rollers' controlled the early proceedings but failed to take advantage of the good run. Youngster Edwin Moalosi wasted a glorious opportunity in the 30th minute. He was given space in the box but he shot wide. Moalosi was the main culprit the whole afternoon missing chances, which could have seen Mapalastina wrapping up the game in regulation time.
Buffaloes opened the scoring in the 34th minute when Kavezedi Kaveledi lobbed home from close range after Rollers failed to clear.
Moeng deserves the blame for
coming off his goalline early and failing to claim the ball. The Rollers goalkeeper claimed to have been fouled. In the 43rd minute, Moeng spilled a beautiful free-kick from Olefile Modise and Buffaloes put the rebound in the net but surprisingly the goal was ruled offside.
The decision shocked many people and some Rollers' supporters admitted that the minnows were robbed. Moeng made amends for his earlier mistake when he produced a superb save from Puso Mangadi's header.
After the break, Rollers searched for an equaliser and were rewarded when defender Obuile Ncenga rose high to head home from a corner in the 47th minute. Rollers surged into the lead 13 minutes later when Buffaloes goalkeeper Ola Tsae failed to hold on to captain Thapelo 'Pepe' Balepi's strike from outside the area and Bernard Semakwezi easily buried the chance. The goal gave Rollers supporters hope that the job was done but little did they know that their opponents would recover.
In the 77th minute, Modise went down in the box but Buffaloes' claims for a penalty were waved off by referee Uyapo Julius.
Three minutes later, Moeng produced a sterling save when he parried a free-kick from Thabang 'Banda' Tsheko who had an outstanding game in the middle of the pack. The player even won accolades from the hard-to-impress Rollers' supporters.
When the game seemed to be headed for a 2-1 win for Rollers, Julius awarded Buffaloes a penalty after a hand was used inside the box. Defender Onkokame Matsela hammered home from the spot to send Buffaloes' supporters into wild celebrations.
During the penalties, Buffaloes' Thabang Tsheko, substitute Kabo Mashau, Kaveledi, Kenneth Setshwane and Matsela scored for Buffaloes. Rollers scored through Thebe Maiketso, Edwin Moalosi, Jomo Mgadla and Edwin Olerile while Owen Molato thundered his shot on the upright to hand victory to Buffaloes.
The following is how the teams lined-up;
Buffaloes: Ola Tsae, Olefile Modise, Kenneth Setshwane, George Mponiki, Onkokame Matsela, Thabang Tsheko, Oratile Tshireletso (Kabo Mashau), Kavezedi Kaveledi, Star Ramponwane (Aobakwe Matanire) and Puso Mangadi.
Rollers- Lesego Moeng, Owen Molato, Edwin Olerile, Jomo Mgadla, Obuile Ncenga, Timothy Phiri, Edwin Moalosi Amos Godirwang (Thebe Maiketso), Bernard Semakwezi, Terrence Mandaza (Leatile Mponang) and Thapelo Balepi.