MAKORO: In a battle for the first maximum points in the Debswana First Division North, Francistown City Greens displayed a strong fortitude to hold on to a marginal 2-1 win over persistent rookies, Palapye All Stars in an encounter played here on Saturday.
City Greens assistant Coach, Victor Puoeng said they came into the encounter determined to break their draw duck and grab their first maximum points. He said although they won, they still showed lack of mental strength when they were pressed deep.
“We came with one thing in mind, and that was to win the game and we set ourselves well in the opening half. However, we failed to kill the game in the second half. We lost concentration and allowed our opponents a comeback that nearly cost us,” he said.
Mamoja settled well in the All Stars backyard with a Godfrey Seabelo brace before the attacker limped off with a groin injury.
In the eighth minute, Seabelo took advantage of a mix-up in the box after a Bakang Malabola corner and drilled into the net.
Malabola proved a handful for the hosts on the left side and delivered a number of crosses into the box for the isolated Emmanuel Tshuma.
The All Stars defenders outnumbered and bullied the striker in his numerous attempts.
In a counter-attack in the 21st minute, Editor Otladitswe picked Seabelo behind the defender, and the attacker beat the goalkeeper with a low shot to the far post.
All Stars responded immediately, with a direct pass from the centre but Ignatius Wetshotsile’s attempt rattled the bar. All Stars fought back and pressed Mamoja into their box but their striking force was lacking in positioning.
From the dugout, All Stars that closed the first stanza with a pressing game took off from where they left. They played direct football and were knocking in the Mamoja goalmouth from the first whistle.
Their persistent hunt for the goal paid dividends four minutes from the whistle. Kitso Dintwa released Kealeboga Solomon with a cross-field pass, the attacker pulled one back with a
The goal inspired the hosts, and they pumped all the balls up front and closed Mamoja deep into their box. Ten minutes into the half All Stars were rewarded with a penalty after Modise Mbise was penalised for handling inside the box.
Othusitse Onkabetse stepped up and the alert goalkeeper parried back the spot kick, on his second bite of the cherry, Onkabetse skied his effort. Five minutes later, against the run of play, All Stars defender, Tumelo Nkala hit his own crossbar from an unforced clearance.
In a half that they dominated, Solomon missed a chance to grab a brace when he received another pass from Tebogo Matantshe with one defender to beat inside the box; instead, he showed too much of the ball and the defender cleared.
All Stars coach Nonofo Mohutsiwa was impressed with their second half pressing, but conceded they lacked in finishing.
“It is still trial and error, but there are good signs of improvement. We go forward well but we don’t score. It is still too early, and I believe these young boys will soon come to the party and enjoy the games,” he said.
His counterpart Puoeng was happy with the maximum points and said the focus is to challenge the top teams. “We lost only once and that shows our battle is at the top,” he said.
All Stars: Meshack Best, Moagi Moatshe, Nkala, Botshile Morotsi, Kenalepe Mochai, Mothusi Kenosi, Wetsotsile, Onkabetse, Kitso Dintwa (Tshepo Baoteleng), Boitumelo Leagetse, Thapelo Thabiwe (Matantshe)
City Greens: Keotshephile Nkonopang, Emmanuel Letuane, Bongane Ranji, Kemoneetswe Mangwedi, Mbise, Jaffel Zhinyuka, Jackson Motswasele (Unami Senzeni), Seabelo (Ithobogeng Monnawapula), Tshuma, Otladitswe, Malabola
Cautions: Nkonopang, Mochai
All Stars 1
City Greens 2