Matebejana FC beat visiting Jwaneng Fighters by a solitary goal in a First Division South match played on Saturday at Mogoditshane Fighters Grounds to go second on the log and throw the title race wide open.
Fighters, who are the promotion contenders, came into the match seeking nothing but victory after registering two consecutive losses. However, that was not to be as Matebejana scored a late winner to collect maximum points and further dent a blow to Fighters promotion hopes.
The match was a dull affair as both teams failed to create any clear cut scoring opportunities in the first 15 minutes of the match.
The first chance of the match came in the 16th minute when Jwaneng Fighters missed an opportunity to draw first blood after beautiful interchanges from midfield.
The ball found an unmarked Oitseng Motsaatosi in the box, but his indecision let him down as he was caught between passing to a teammate and shooting to the goals. He ended up tripping over the ball and the chance deserted him. The chances were far in between, and the next moment came in the 25th minute when the home side failed to utilise a set piece just outside the 18-yard area. Mphoentle Mogopodi connected well with a low driven delivery however his header just went wide off the mark.
The teams went to recess deadlocked at nil all. After the break, Fighters coach made double substitution bringing in striker Goareng Ragale and attacking midfielder Kabo Mojuta to try and find the opener.
The two nearly made immediate impact with a string of passes that however; the lack of composure from Keaotshepha Omphile let them down. Matebejana’s Rapelang Manase missed a sitter and skied his effort with the goals gazing at him following a poor clearance by the goalkeeper in the 67th minute.
Matebejana seemed to have upped the tempo as they started creating chances. Three minutes later, their striker Cosmos Folai thought he had found the opener but his goal was disallowed for an offside.
The goal eventually came in the 85th minute when Folai scored with a header from the small box following a cross from Bophelo Palalani on the right. Palalani had rounded off the keeper but crossed the ball when he realised that he was in an awkward angle to shoot for goal and go for glory.
Although the goal scorer seemed to be in an offside position, the goal stood as the flag stayed down. The goal ultimately proved to be the winner and handed the home side maximum points.
The loss dented a blow to Fighters promotion ambitions, taking them to position four on the log with four games to play while Matebejana moved to position two from fifth although the two are tied on points and are three points behind leaders Gilport Lions who also lost on the day.
In interview Jwaneng Fighters coach, Andrew Tlou bemoaned lack of proper management and professionalism in local football. However, he indicated that there are still in with a chance to gain promotion.
“We knew what to expect and worked on the tactics. However, I don’t know what happened to the boys today. But we are still in the race,” said Tlou. His counterpart, Mompati Thuma said they knew they played a team with experienced campaigners but relied on their agility to outsmart them. He said the team played well and according to the instructions.
Matebejana: Mpho Mantsho. Justice Sebopi, Mathaba Moloi, Patrick Bonang, Obakeng Mbechwana, Kgotso Ofaletse,(Pako Moleti), Bophelo Palalani, Cosmos Folai, Mothusi Sebudubudu, (Tshepo Tabona), Mphoentle Mogopodi, Rapelang Manase (Wandani Aron)
Fighters: Kabelo Tshamekang, Karabo Nqako, Bryan Bitsang, Mosimanegape Ngongorego, Otlaabusa Phekoyame, Boitumelo Mafoko, Oitseng Motsaatosi, (Lapologang Motlosi), Oteng Mosala, (Kabo Mojuta), Keaotshepha Omphile, Benjamine Maute, Ontumetse Osupile (Goareng Ragale)
Matebejana 1(Cosmos Folai 85th)