FRANCISTOWN: Township Rollers were left reeling over wasted opportunities when Kaizer Chiefs came from behind to steal a draw in the dying minutes of a tightly-contested match at the Francistown Sports Complex on Saturday afternoon.
In the opening minutes, the visitors took control of possession but Rollers who started on the back foot adjusted quickly and pressed high forward.
They forced a few errors on the Chiefs defence but wasted three half chances consecutively in a space of 10 minutes.
First Shadrack Chinyama pounced on to a back pass, but Itumeleng Khune made himself big and blocked the striker’s attempt with a tackle.
Two minutes later, Edwin Olerile rolled a low cross to Chinyama who flicked to Segolame Boy on the edge of the box but his shot sailed over the bar.
Three minutes after that Khune misjudged Olerile’s cross and it fell to Boy on his best left foot and he shot over an empty net from the 18-yard box.
It took Chiefs 21 minutes to produce a first threat at goal. George Lebese received a cross on a blind spot and rolled across the penalty area, but Willard Katsande’s low shot was blocked for a corner. Just over the half hour mark, Boy gave Popa the lead.
He received a pass from the left, drove two steps inside and drilled into the bottom left corner.
Popa were enterprising going forward and also defended well to ensure they carry the lead to the break.
After the break, Chiefs continued with their patience build up and showed their superiority over the home side by pressing them too deep.
They came close to equalising when Lorenzo Gordinho met a Lebese corner and forced a fingertip save from Keagile Kgosipula, before the ball fell on the path of Bernard Parker whose diving header rattled the upright.
Rollers struggled to make way out of their box the entire second half and
They put the entire team behind the ball.
Chiefs patience play paid off in the 86th when a Gustavo Paez back heel flick found Lebese in the box and the winger calmly slotted a half volley at the far post to ensure Amakhosi remains unbeaten by a Botswana side.
“This was a bit more difficult side than the Rollers we met back home.
They had reinforced their defence and were difficult to break off. They sat deep and we had to be patient. They were bound to make a mistake like it happened,” Chiefs coach, Steve Kompela said after the game.
His Rollers counterpart, Nicola Kavazovic was impressed with his charges. “We started with a good attacking game and pressed high forward, created exceptional chances but we failed to make use of them. We showed we can compete and the supporters should be impressed. I think the boys are learning faster than I thought,” he said.
Rollers: Keagile Kgosipula, Obuile Ncenga, Kaone Vanderwesthuizen, Edwin Olerile, Motsholetsi Sikele, Maano Ditshupo (Tshepo Motlhabankwe), Ivan Ntege, Gape Mohutsiwa, Segolame Boy (Joel Mogorosi), Edwin Moalosi (Tshepo Matete), Shadrack Chimanya (Jerome Ramatlhakwane)
Chiefs:Itumeleng Khune, Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Lorenzo Gordinho, Teenage Hadebe (Siyabonga Ngezana), Tsepo Masilela, Willard Katsande, George Lebese, Hendrick Ekstein (Bongolethu Jiyaya), Bernard Parker, Gustavo Paez.
Cautions: Gordinho, Kgosipula
Rollers (1) 1 (Boy 33rd)
Chiefs (0) 1 (Lebese 86th)