Sthembile Mbuqe’s first half score from the penalty spot was the difference as Notwane beat Mochudi Centre Chiefs 1-0 in the BTC Premiership encounter played under floodlights at the National Stadium on Friday.
The two teams renewed their rivalry after an eventful week for Sechaba who have sidelined head coach, Keitumetse ‘Pio’ Paul. Kakale Mabechu who served on interim basis led the team. Notwane were not fazed by the midweek activities at the club and were the better side on the evening.
However, they were let down by their poor finishing as they rattled the post thrice. Toronto asked questions as early as the 17th minute, when Mbuqe’s attempted curler was blocked for a corner. The team continued to enjoy the lion’s share of the ball possession in the early stages of the half. After some good interplay by Sechaba, Arnold Mampori handled the ball inside the box and the referee awarded Notwane a penalty.
Mbuqe stepped up and sent Siamisang Kgosipula the wrong to give his side the lead. In the 37th-minute, Lesego Lubinda from miles out went for a goal, but could not direct his shot goalwards. On the brink of half time, Terrence Mandaza laid for Koketso Mokgatitswane who released Unobatsha Mbaiwa with a through ball. The latter failed to level the scores with only the keeper to beat as his shot hit the upright. Notwane took a slender 1-0 lead into the break.
After recess, it was Sechaba who were in the driving seat, with a lion’s share of the ball possession. The team tried to penetrate Magosi’s defence with short passes while Chiefs wanted to catch their opponents on a counter using the speed of Bakang Leshona, Morris Rusivo and Mbaiwa. Lubinda wasted a glorious chance in
Tlhalefo Molebatsi was unlucky not to add Notwane’s second in the 84th-minute after the 24-year-old rounded off Kgosipula, but his shot rattled the post before getting back into the field of play. Notwane held on to their slim lead as they bagged three points. “We started well, had a costly mistake that led to the penalty. From then, our heads dropped a bit from half time. We huffed and puffed our chances. We hurried the game and then we couldn’t make the right decisions.
“We were lucky to concede 1-0. Notwane today were sharper than us,” Chiefs coach, Philani Mabhena said after the game.
“We understood the importance of getting maximum points today. We knew they were going to use speed so we had to close down the flanks. “Our senior players understood our midweek situation, so it was up to them to motivate others and try to get points from this match,” Mabechu said.
Notwane: Michael Pepukani, Mpoeleng Mpoeleng, Katlego Keobake, Brian Botsang, Thato Seagateng, Amos Godirwang, Lubinda, Richard Legwaila, Moshe Tlhaolang (Thabiso Boti), Mbuqe, Molebatsi (Simbarashe Gate)
Chiefs: Kgosipula, Motseoetile Elijah, Onalenna Molelekwa, Moabi Sebele, Mampori, Elvis Meleka, Leshona, Mokgatitswane (Maatla Magosha), Ruzivo, Mandaza (Phenyo Molefe), Mbaiwa
Notwane 1 (Mbuqe 27th, pen)