Debswana First Division South side, Jwaneng Fighters eased their relegation worries when they beat log leaders, Masitaoka by a solitary goal at Molepolole Sports Complex Saturday afternoon.
The goal came courtesy of a long pile-driver by Maatla Ditshoso in the 72nd minute in a match that was characterised by plenty of possession on a rain-soaked artificial turf. The two teams came into the game with contrasting fortunes, with Masitaoka on top of the table after hitting form in December, while Jwaneng Fighters found the going tough this season.
With Majatlhaga looking to continue their winning form, they were the first to settle in the match, playing a good passing game while Fighters were happy to sit back and absorb pressure. However, they were let down by poor decision-making in the final third. Emmanuel Ditodi was a threat on the left wing, on many occasions beating his marker. But Fighters’ defence easily dealt with his balls into the box, as their target man, Gaamangwe Sethibe was always isolated.
In the 25th minute, Ditodi’s grass cutter was saved at the near post after beating his marker inside the box. Masitaoka nearly broke the deadlock in the 37th minute when Sethibe turned on the edge of the box and took a powerful shot at goal, but Thabang Mokotedi deflected the ball for a corner. At half time, the teams were still deadlocked.
Masitaoka continued where they left off after the break, attacking on the left flank where Ditodi was a menace for the defence. First, to get a chance was Aobakwe Radikolana who missed with a header at the far post in the 46th minute with the keeper well-beaten following a good delivery into the box.
With Masitaoka looking for the opener and pilling more pressure, Christopher Lemme saw his half volley sail over the bar from just outside the 18-yard box in the 55th minute. Ditodi then missed with a header
Fighters broke the duck in the 72nd minute from their first corner of the match. Ditshoso collected the ball just outside the box; beat his marker with a step over before unleashing a grass cutter that eluded everyone into the bottom corner. The goal was enough to seal the three points for former Zebras midfielder, Boitumelo Mafoko.
After the match, Masitaoka coach Nelson Olebile said his side lost the match because of complacency. He said they knew coming into the game what to expect, but the players did not just apply themselves.
“Obviously, I am not happy with the result. We were very complacent that’s why we lost the match. We knew that playing a team in the relegation zone would not be easy, but my players did not come to the party. They came prepared and we were not hurting the opponent where it mattered most,” he said.
Jwaneng Fighters, coach Mafoko expressed happiness with how his players applied themselves in the game. He said the three points would make a big difference to their fight against relegation.
“The boys are showing signs that they want to fight for the club. I am taking one game at a time, but I am certain that we will collect maximum points in the coming games. We didn’t start well but we are getting there,” said Mafoko.
Masitaoka: Tumisang Selolwane, Radikolana, Eric Tjizake, Baisamisi Sebapalo, Olebogeng Ramotse, Kakanyo Victor Kethubile, Monaheng Thaele, Koketso Majafi, (Thabiso Keitumetse), Sethibe (Topo Piet), Ditodi, Lemme.
Jwaneng Fighters: Tumisang Leburu, Mokotedi, Doctor Mmoko, Kago Keotlogele, Oteng Mosala, Ditshoso, Kemo Pumkin, Goareng Bagale (Bame Mabuse), Lapologang Motlogi, Stephen Kudubane, Tshepiso Bajammewa, (Kago Motshegare)
Jwaneng Fighters 1