ORAPA: Hosts, Orapa United benefited from what appeared to be a clear offside goal when they overcame high riding Security Systems in a Mascom Top 8 quarterfinal clash played on Friday night at Itekeng stadium.
United won the first round tie by a solitary goal. There were also several refereeing decisions during the match that were questioned by both teams.
United could have at least scored three goals in the first half because they were totally dominant. In the opening minutes of the match, forward Omaatla Kebatho missed a notable opportunity to put the hosts ahead when he sent the ball over the bar instead of easily beating the keeper. Once again, in the 17th minute he sent his shot wide after he capitalised from a poor clearance by the visitors’ defence.
Striker Kenanao Kgetholitsile could have put Systems ahead two minute, later but sent his shot slightly over the bar after he had cleverly navigated his way past United defender, Mothusi Johnson.
In the 22nd minute, the match was temporarily halted for a few minutes because of power outages. In the 33rd minute, Systems were denied what appeared to be a clear penalty when a United defender appeared to have handled inside the box.
The decisive moment of the match came in fourth minute of the five minutes added by the referee in the first half. Forward Allen Ndodole intercepted what appeared to be a stray ball from left back, Johnson and easily beat Systems goalkeeper Joseph Gojamang.
A majority felt that the goal was not supposed to stand, as it was a clear offside. But it turned out that the referee and his assistant on the far right side of the pitch missed the incident.
The goal drew a very angry response from Systems coach Daniel Nare. Just after the break, Nare was given his marching orders for strongly airing his displeasure at the referee for the ‘offside’ goal.
The second half turned out to be a very boring affair. Orapa continued dominating possession, but could not create real scoring chances.
Their only notable scoring chance came in the 55th minute of the second stanza, but regrettably missed. After he was set up by substitute Mbatshi Elias, Onkemetse Powe did the unthinkable. He sent his shot wide instead of calmly beating a hapless Gojamang who was there for the taking.
Systems did try to get back into the match by introducing the aggressive Ronald Chikomo, but United were more organised at the back. On most occasions when he was in possession, veteran defender Thabang Mosige easily dealt with him.
Even Kgetholitsile who showed promise in the first half whenever in possession appeared very isolated in the second half. The second leg of the quarterfinal will be played at Molepolole Sports Complex in a fortnight.
Orapa United: Lesenya Malapela, Powe, Kebatho (Onkabetse Makgantai), Ndodole (Lawrence Ndunga), Kobamelo Kebaikanye (Elias), Gofaone Mabaya, Mpho Kgaswane, Tapiwa Nyamanjiwa, Johnson, Mooketsi Hlabano, Mosige, Mpho Kgaswane.
Systems: Gojamang, Daniel Montshiwa, Benson Mangolo, Bophelo Macheng, Osego Gaotewe, Kaelo Kgaswane, Thatayaone Ramatlapeng, Kemmy Pilato (Michael Pillar), Kgetholetsile, Morris Rusivo (Chikomo) Thato Ogopotse (Omphile Sebolai)