SOWA TOWN: Township Rollers survived a real scare to qualify for the Orange FA Cup quarterfinal against A lowly ranked but cocky Sua Flamingoes at Paul Henry Stadium in Sowa Town over the weekend.
Popa won the match 1-0. The visitors struck late in the second half through forward Tumisang Orebonye to limp into the quarterfinals.
On the day Rollers were thoroughly outplayed. They lacked energy and aggression. In addition, in what was probably their worst game this season,they committed too many errors and their midfield wobbled woefully.
Most notably, in the middle they were bemused by slick passing from the hosts. Although the first half failed to produce real scoring chances for both sides, Flamingoes were dominant in terms of possession and showed no respect to their much-fancied opponents.
The hosts also did try the Rollers goalie with several long-range shots in the first half, but all of them were less threatening. Rollers appeals for a penalty fell on deaf ears late in the first half. That was after Galagwe Moyana appeared to have been fouled in goal area by Flamingoes goalie Andrew Race.
Shaken by the hosts’ first half display, Rollers introduced Motsholetsi Sikele immediately after the break in a bid to increase the speed of the match. Rollers mentor, Frank Nuttall had surprisingly left Sikele who has probably been the standout performer for Popa this season, on the bench.
Sikele nearly scored with his first touch in the 46th minute, but Race’s fingertips were enough to send his well-taken shot wide.
Popa did have a second chance to score in
Prior to that, Flamingoes forward Mooketsi Lootwane’s well-taken shot went inches wide with Rollers goalkeeper, Wagarre Dikago looking well beaten.
In the 77th minute, Dikago was forced into a save by Thabiso Bante’s neat shot from inside the goal area.
The visitors had their first real chance in the 86th minute through substitute Lemponye Tshireletso, but his shot went wide with only Race to beat, after he had been released from the middle.
A minute later, Orebonye scored the decisive goal. The 23-year-old squeezed through the defence and slammed a low ball past Race to send Rollers supporters into celebratory raptures. That was after he had received a cross from right.
Popa’s passionate fans, who are known for their singing prowess, endured a very tense afternoon and only started singing loudly after the goal.
It was already late for Flamingoes to find a goal in order to take the match beyond regulation time.
Township Rollers: Dikago, Kamogelo Matsabu, Kaone Vanderwesthuizen, Simisani Mathumo, Ivan Mbowa, Ratanang, Mothusi Cooper, Segolame Boy, Tlhalefo Molebatsi (Tshireletso), Orebonye, Moyana (Sikele)
Flamingoes: Race, Sydney Moseki (Kenneth Mmoko), Quinton Mokoka, Kealeboga Matote, Relebanye Segolego, Mpho Odubeng, Ogomoditse Bauleni, Lovermore Bogatsu (Edward Masole), Wilfred Dithulane (Samuel Rakgoro), Lootwane
Sua Flamingoes 0
Rollers 1 (Orebonye 87th)