ORAPA: Orapa United’s dreams of defending the Orange FA Cup crashed when their nemesis, Gaborone United (GU) invaded Itekeng Stadium and outmuscled them 4-3 in penalty shootout after a goalless stalemate on Friday evening.
The golden Ostriches were fresh from a Mascom Top 8 triumph that was won at penalty shootouts. They beat Township Rollers to the P1.4 million silverware after a taxing 120 minutes.
Ostriches coach, Mogomotsi ‘Teenage’ Mpote thought his players gave a good account of themselves but fatigue was their downfall following last weekend’s triumph. He said their exit could be a blessing in disguise as they shifted concentration to the ever-illusive league silverware.
“We could have done better to defend our title. Unfortunately we went out but it gives us ample time to focus on the league. It is a very important silverware for us at the moment, and we hope to do well,” Mpote said.
The opening half-hour was less enterprising. Marred with a series of stoppages due to players slipping and minor knocks in the wet surface, the encounter kicked off an hour late as the waterlogged pitch was drained.
The half was too relaxed to warm up a chilly Friday evening. Ostriches seemed caught up in the celebration hangovers. There were threatening moments deeper in the half from both ends.
The hosts appeared more wasteful. They won a series of corner-kicks, but failed to profit. Mothusi Johnson’s long corner-kick found Mpho Kgaswane unmarked at the far post, but he headed outside the upright.
In the 40th minute, Mbatshi Elias squandered another chance from the box when he failed to redirect Onkemetse Powe’s lobbed cross into the net, but instead headed across the goals.
Thatayaone Kgamanyane responded with a gliding shot that sailed inches past the far post. A minute later, Mbatshi’s threatening
The visitors became more threatening. A timely Thabang Mosige’s tackle in the 70th minute thwarted Keaketswe Moloi when he was about to poke into the net from 16 yards.
It was Tshepo Maikano who missed a sitter in the next minute when he directed an unmarked header out when the defenders were napping.
A diving Mosige who blocked and cleared Maome’s shot in the 79th minute saved the hosts.
A failed clearance had fallen for the latter in front of the penalty area.
Mothusi Johnson side-netted a free-kick from the 18-yard line on the right.
The encounter was sent to penalties after a stalemate. The winning coach, Pontsho Moloi was elated for the turnaround of fortunes for his side that is undefeated six games on the roll.
“I am happy for the boys. Above that, we have made it to the next round of the Cup that we wish to win if possible. We are on an impressive run and it is what we want to build on,” he said.
Orapa United: Lesenya Malapela, Kgaswane, Mooketsi Hlabano, Mosige, Johnson, Tapiwa Nyamandjiva, Gofaone Mabaya (Lawrence Nduga), Allen Ndodole, Elias, Onkemetse Powe, Omaatla Kebatho (Kobamelo Kebaikanye)
Gaborone United: Phoko, Tshepo Maikano, Michael Tinye, Kennedy Amutenya, Godwin Bonsu, Lesego Galenamotlhale, Rentse Keakabetse (Misani Thupa), Alphonse Modisaotsile, Kgamanyane, Moloi (Joel Mogorosi), Obonwe Maome