Lemponye Tshireletso’s late first half strike gifted Township Rollers a 1-0 victory over visiting KCCA of Uganda in a CAF Champions league Group A encounter played at the National Stadium on Friday evening.
With group rivals, Al Ahly and Esperance de Tunis playing to a 0-0 draw on the same evening, the win took Rollers to the top of the group with three points after the first round of group stages matches.
The home side had the first attempt at goal as early as the fourth minute. Mosha Gaololwe had his shot blocked by the defence for corner before he headed his attempt from the corner over the bar.
Eight minutes later, Tshireletso beat his markers with skill but had his shot parried back into play by the goalkeeper.
The visitors’ first attempt at goal came on the 18th minute as Jackson Nunda caught Popa defence on a counter but shot wide. Tshireletso had another chance at goal in the 29th minute. He almost benefited from miscommunication at the back but the goalkeeper reacted quickly.
Rollers finally found the breakthrough in the 36th minute. Joel Mogorosi laid for Tshireletso who rounded the goalkeeper before he slotted into an empty net.
Three minutes to the break, Julius Puluto rose high to head a corner but his effort went wide.
The visitors looked a better side in the early stages of the second half and pressed hard for an equaliser while the home side kept it tight at the back.
In the 70th minute, Tshireletso nearly bagged a brace as he cut inside from the wing, unleashed a shot from far but could only hit the cross bar.
Rollers started to feel comfortable
In the dying minutes, Keeagile Kgosipula was called into action but managed to make a double save.
“We played a good game as we expected. Rollers were more effective; that was the difference. They had a chance at goal and they used it, but it was good game,” KCCA coach, Mike Mutebi said in a post-match interview. His counterpart, Rollers’ Nikola Kavazovic was happy to collect the maximum points on the evening but said his focus would be on the local league while he was happy to carry the underdog tag.
“Tomorrow everyone would not care about this victory. From now on I would be thinking about the league. We asked for nothing but three points this evening,” he said.
“We are not the team to threaten anyone in this group, Kampala is a good team and we are not threat.”
Rollers: Keeagile Kgosipula, Tshepo Motlhabankwe, Simisane Mathumo, Mosha Gaolaolwe, Galabye Moyana (Tsepo Matete), Maano Ditshupo, Ivan Ntege, Segolame Boy, Lemponye Tshireletso, Joel Mogorosi, Motsholetsi Sikele (Gape Mohutsiwa)
KCCA: Tom Ikara, Timothy Awany, Filbert Obenchan, Paul Musamali, Lawrance Bukenya, Isaac Kirabira, Julius Poloto, Mustafa Kizza, Allan Okello, Jackson Nunda, Muhammad Shaban
Rollers 1 (Tshireletso 36th)