PILIKWE: Morupule Wanderers edged Calendar Stars 1-0 to maintain a top spot battle and secure a play-offs berth in a ‘frustrating’ affair that kicked off late and was characterised by a series of stoppages at Pilikwe Grounds on Saturday.
Calendar arrived late at the ground and the match kicked off 20 minutes later. The Francistown-based side did not get an opportunity to warm up.
When the game kicked off, Calendar players stormed at every decision by the referees and caused delays. At some point in the game before they conceded, they ballooned the balls into the nearby bushes.
Wanderers assistant coach, Pule Mogotsi felt the intention of their opponents was to frustrate them. He said his side endured a difficult game but could have done better had they taken their chances.
“Their intentions were clearly to frustrate us. They came with delaying tactics. It was a difficult game with too many stoppages, but we had to do the business no matter how scrappy. We could have done better,” he said.
Wanderers missed a glorious chance a minute into the game. From a short corner, Tebogo Moroka belted a hard and low cross into a packed goalmouth. Tshepo Baipoledi’s connection from the 16 yards box at the far end went over the bar.Wanderers created a series of chances, but their trident of strikers either shot wayward or failed to link when it mattered. For a number of attacks, they failed to pick the right passes and movements.
Calendar nearly shocked the hosts in the 18th minute when Matlhogonolo Manko found Gabanthate Olebetse on the far wide. Olebetse cut inside and unleashed a grass cutter towards the bottom right but his effort was parried out for a corner. Two minutes later, Kelepile Terata came close when his attempted cross from the left wing hit the crossbar. Calendar exchanged the jabs with the ever-threatening Olebetse.
He beat his marker into the box from the left side and laid a telling cross to pick the
Second half transformed into a dirty affair with Calendar evidently playing for a draw. Whereas they began ballooning the balls out at every opportunity, they stopped play countless times.
It took 10 minutes from the break for the hosts to grab the all-important goal. Gosaitse Manuel received from the edge of the box. He cheekily dribbled past his marker into the box, and he was fouled.
The referee pointed to the spot. Manuel dusted himself and stepped up. He sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to hand his side the lead. After the goal,Calendar chased the game.
They created a few chances and won a number of set pieces but failed to profit. Wanderers’ defenders started bulldozing the nippy Calendar attackers.
Master Masitara could have buried the game in the dying minutes. From a long ball, he controlled and dribbled past a defender but his shot ended in the side netting.
Mogotsi said the team was playing under immense pressure. He was happy the win secured a playoffs spot. He said their focus was to maintain the challenge until the final whistle.
Calendar coach, Boipuso Manyalo complained bitterly about the officiating.
“It was dirty and very tricky. The officiating was disastrous. We matched them pound to pound and could have gone anywhere,” he said.
Wanderers: Ontiretse Kolobe, Terata, Thopho Motheng, Baipoledi, Moroka, Tshepang Boithatelo, Comfort Dikupa, Katlego Mpoeleng (Samuel Makgoro), Bakang Mokgoloke (Kgololo Kgogobi), Masitara, Manuel (Katlego Ralegoreng)
Calendar Stars: Nsala Mosinyi, Keone Keitirile, Maikano Macheng, Keabetswe Matote, Gothusang Osego, Manko, Thabo Ngadla, Olebetse (Lemogang Tlhole), Mosala (Kago Kaizer), Simon Motlogi, Boipelo Stephen
Wanderers 1 (Manuel 55th Pen)