FRANCISTOWN: Orapa United clinched their second Mascom Top 8 title in nearly four years after a hard-fought penalty shoot-out with Township Rollers.
The games was played at the Obed Itani Chilume Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Orapa won the match 4-3 on penalties after both sides finished 1-1 at extra time. Rollers dominated throughout the first 30 minutes creating chance after chance but United just kept repelling them somehow with superb goalkeeping from Lesenya Malapela.
In the eighth minute, Rollers winger, Edwin Moalosi made his way into the box and set up Tumisang Orebonye for a shot from a tight angle. The ball was parried off play by Orapa goalkeeper, Malapela. Man of the match, Orebonye caused all sorts of problems for United defender, Thabang Mosige.
Seconds earlier he had a clear chance to break the deadlock after being sent clear by Moalosi. He rounded the goalkeeper, but hit the post.
United had the first real opportunity to score in the 17th minute. But Mbatsi Elias’ s header from closed range shaved the crossbar after he had connected well with Onkabetse Makgantai’s cross from right.
Rollers could have assumed the lead in the 19th minute through defender Onkarabile Ratanang but his well-taken free kick was tipped to the post by Malapela.
United eventually grabbed the lead in the 33rd minute. Elias coolly controlled a long ball launched from the back before shrugging off his marker. He then sent an advancing Popa goalkeeper, Kabelo Dambe the wrong way.
Four minutes later, Orebonye scored for Rollers after capitalising on what appeared to be miscommunication between Mosige and Malapela. However the referee ruled that Orebonye had committed a foul and disallowed the goal, when in actual fact Mosige was the one who collided with Malapela. The goal was allowed following intervention from the fourth official.
Towards the end of the first half, Mankgantai forced Dambe into a fine save with a well-taken shot. That was after the ball broke loose to him within the edge
The second half was purely dull especially based on the fact that the two sides are possibly the most attacking teams in the country.
They barely went forward and created opportunities. The only notable opportunity created fell for Orapa midway through the second stanza. Rollers goalie Wagarre Dikago who replaced Dambe five minutes after the break pulled a good save to deny United forward Omaatla Kebatho. Kebatho’s close range header appeared destined for goal but Dikago tipped it over the bar. During extra time Orapa increased their pace but they failed to create notable scoring chances. On the other hand Popa had a very quiet extra time and appeared content with taking the match to penalties.
Rollers skipper Simisani Mathumo and Ratanang missed their penalties while Mabaya missed for Orapa. Mothusi Johnson converted the decisive penalty for Orapa.
With a 3rd cup from four finals in four years, now firmly in the trophy cabinet, United are now in search of a remarkable treble in Teenage Mpote’s third season in charge. They have a fair chance of winning the league and the Orange FA cup, where they are in the quarterfinals. Meanwhile, Rollers defender Kamogelo Matsabu was crowned player of the tournament at the awards ceremony held immediately after the final. Matsabu was tipped by many pundits to walk away with the award. He had been very impressive at right back during the tournament. Lesenya Malapela was named goalkeeper of the tournament while Mpote was named coach of the tournament.
Rollers: Dambe (Dikago 46), Matsabu, Kaone van der Westhuizen, Mathumo, Ratanang, Ofentse Nato ( Francis Afriyie 87), Mothusi Cooper, Moalosi (Segolame Boy 75), Tlhalefo Molebatsi, Orebonye, Motsholetsi Sikele
Orapa United: Malapela, Mpho Kgaswane, Mooketsi Hlabano, Mosige, Mothusi Johnson, Tapiwa Nyamanjiva, Mabaya, Allen Ndodole (Lawrence Nduga), Makgantai (Onkemetse Powe), Elias, Kebatho