Uniao Flamengo Santos marked their return to the Debswana First Division South League with a 2-1 win over Mogoditshane Fighters at the Fighters grounds on Saturday afternoon. Two goals in the first half ensured the visitors bagged maximum points on the league opener after being relegated from the elite last season.
Santos showed their intentions as early as the first minute, from a counterattack. Goitsemodimo Zoko’s shot was parried back into play by the goalkeeper, but Kesaobaka Ntagileng hit the upright on the follow-up. In the 10th-minute, Fighters had their first attempt at goal with Joseph Keitseng’s free kick shooting over the bar. After the attempt, it was a Santos affair as the youthful side sought an opening goal. Their efforts eventually paid off in the 32nd-minute. Karabo Rabasadi executed a nicely laid pass for Zoko who beat the keeper with a left footed strike to the far post, giving his side the lead.
Ma14 doubled their lead seven minutes later, through Botshelo Pelokgosi with an outside foot pass for Lemogang Kabo who outpaced his marker and beat Botlhe Moralo to the bottom far corner.
The home side pulled one back on the referee’s additional minutes.
Botsetswe Othusegile headed home Ototeng Dintwa’s free-kick, but was assisted by some poor marking from the opponents. The visitors took a 2-1 lead into the break.
The game lost its tempo in the early stages of the second half. In the 58th-minute, Ontse Ntesa tried to curl a free kick to the near post, but could only hit the side net. Two minutes later, Santos broke on a counter, as the ball fell onto Pelokgosi who shot straight into the keeper’s hands in a one-on-one situation. On the 78th-minute, Zoko
“We wanted an early goal. We wanted to have two goals in the first 30 minutes. We got the goals, but we conceded a free kick just before the break and that killed our game plan.
“So we had to use the skill and energy of the youngsters we have, against their (Fighters) experienced players,” Santos’ assistant coach Innocent Ranku said after the game. His counterpart at Fighters, assistant coach Tshoganetso Malizimba bemoaned the early goal as he said his side failed to use chances of their own. “We conceded a silly early goal and we then played under pressure. It is the first game of the league. We are still trying out combinations. I think we will improve as the games come by,” he said.
Fighters: Moralo, Thatayaone Pitso, Keitseng, Mompati Pitlagano, Samson Ramakoba, Audreen Chisiyanwa, Dintwa, Othusigile, Morapedi Kengaletswe, Lorato Mosweu, Phomolo Sitwane (Kebadireng)
Santos: Baratedi, Ntesa, Thabo Mothibi, Tlamelo Abueng, Rapelang Gabanakgosi, Ronald Setshego, Zoko, Pelokgosi (Thato Olekantse) Rabasadi, Kabo, Ntagileng (Atang Bulala)
Fighters 1 (Othusegile 48+3)
Santos 2 (Zoko 32nd, Kabo 39th)