Edwin Moalosi’s second half strike was enough to see Popa through while Mapantsola would feel robbed because of a dubious late offside call by the referee.
The home side had the first shot towards goal, but Ogomoditse Sitang’s curling shot went wide. Popa on the other end saw their first attempt go over the bar from Segolame Boy’s effort from a free kick. Mapantsola looked shaky at the back as Rollers continued the search of an early goal. Another free kick was given to the visitors, but Katlego Mbise coolly saved Lemponye Tshireletso’s attempt in the 13th minute. Mbise produced yet another good save to parry Moalosi’s free kick for a corner a few minutes later.
Six minutes to the break, Keeagile Kgosipula nearly gifted Gunners an early Easters gift as he spilled Masibusane Zongo’s shot, but Lungisani Fanyana failed to capitalise. The teams went into halftime break level at 0-0 with neither having a grip on the game.
Gunners had a better start to the second half and with just 10 minutes in, Sitang set up Fanyana who was unmarked in the box, but failed to control the ball as Kgosipula easily collected. Popa eventually broke the deadlock in the 66th minute with Moalosi shooting from close range leaving Mbise hapless to give his side the lead. Gunners looked for a quick response and two minutes later, Brian Mankanku found Fanyana with a pass, but with only the goalkeeper to beat the striker shot over the bar.
Gunners team broke away with yet another quick counter attack; substitute Emmanuel Machinya flicked the ball unto Fanyana. The striker thought he had beat the offside trap and chipped over the advancing goalkeeper for a goal but his celebrations were cut short when the assistant referee ruled that he was offside.
“It was a tough game, very tactical and it was very complicated for us. But our experienced players helped us manage the game. I think at the end we deserved to win. There is a lot of pressure in the 90 minutes of a cup game. They were a threat on counter attacks but in the end we deserved to win,” Rollers’ coach Rodolfo Zapata said after the game. His counterpart, Gunners’ Pontsho Moloi, visibly livid, did not give journalists a post-match interview.
Gunners: Mbise, Katlego Mothibi, Tendai Kesekile, Bafana, Oabile Makopo, Obonwe Moswate (Kudzanani Machadzani), Sitang (Machinya), Zongo, Mankanku (Baokeditswe Talane), Fanyana, Mosimanegape Ntwaetsile
Rollers: Kgosipula, Motsholetsi Sikele, Ofentse Nato, Mosha Goalaolwe, Kaone van der Westhuizen, Maano Ditshupo, Mothusi Cooper, Boy (Gape Mohutsiwa), Tshireletso (Kamogelo Matsabu), Moalosi, Wasindidi Bibo Bindu (Joel Mogorosi)
Cautions: Makopo, Fanyana, Bibo, Moalosi, Ditshupo
Rollers 1 (Moalosi 66th)