PILIKWE: Mahalapye’s division one side, Santa Green caused a huge upset when they knocked First Division North League leaders, Morupule Wanderers out of the FA Cup with a well-executed 3-2 triumph in the latter’s backyard.
In fact, it was a bad day in the office for the Palapye representatives. All the three sides from the village bowed out of the competition.
In an early kick-off here, before Wanderers were rudely knocked out, 10-men Palapye All Stars became penalty shootout casualties against Sua Flamingoes after a dramatic 2-2 draw.
All Stars did well in the encounter, coming from behind twice to level matters but were undone by lack of composure during the shootout.
Elsewhere in Bobonong, the other Palapye side Motlakase Power Dynamos suffered a similar feat after a 2-2 stalemate in regulation time and were dumped by Bobonong Stone Breakers.
The doubleheader in Pilikwe pulled a massive crowd who packed the village ground. Expectations were Wanderers would roll over Santa Green, but the Mahalapye side had other thoughts.
Wanderers coach, Boyo Radipotsane blamed slackness on his side. He said they controlled well, and failed to grab an early goal as they had planned.
“I cannot explain what the boys were doing. They failed to score after a good start. We made big blunders and were punished. We failed to respond in time and only came to the party when it was already very late,” he said.
Wanderers dominated the entire first half of the encounter despite trailing at the end of the 45 minutes. Santa Green were tactical and struggled for possession but it did not frustrate them.
They were happy to allow Wanderers have the ball. They closed pockets and ensured Wanderers charges do not penetrate their compact defence.
They packed their defensive line and left Onkokame Matsela alone upfront with Amantle Motswetla and Bonang Theetso supporting him from the wings.
The plan paid off in the 33rd minute against the run of play. Matsela received a long pass in front of the box; he skillfully left two Wanderers defenders on the floor before setting up Motswetla. The nippy winger composed himself and calmly buried his side first real chance.
Wanderers remained calm and worked well in the middle of the park.
They were disappointed by their dysfunctional combination of Master Masitara and Gosaitse Manuel upfront. The Mahalapye outfit held on for a marginal lead going to the break.
Motswetla sent Santa Green supporters into wild celebrations on top of the opening minute with his brace of the day. Wanderers goalkeeper made an error on Nonofo Seme’s long clearance. His attempted header outside his 18-yard box fell for Matsela.
The lanky striker’s attempt from the goalkeeper’s error hit the upright, and Motswetla was well positioned to pounce and tapped home for a 2-0. Wanderers lost shape and composure after the goal.
They became desperate and frustration kicked in and hurried the ball upfront in search of a goal. They opened at the back and Santa Green compounded their lacklustre performance with another goal in the 72nd minute.
Motswetla lurched into a pass in the box, he flicked for Theetso who was unmarked in the penalty area and the latter made no mistake and buried into the roof of the net.
Wanderers responded immediately with Masitara scrapping an untidy finish from a Samuel Makgoro square pass. Santa Green sat back and watched their opponents toil.
Kgololo Kgogobi made it 3-2 in the dying minutes of the encounter when Masitara set him up against an empty net. The Mahalapye side were already sure of the outcome and they held the ball to wind down the clock.
Their coach, Kabelo Sephatla, said they studied their opponents and were aware of their weaknesses. He said his charges executed his plan to the letter.
“We were spot on, although we fumbled at the beginning. We never opened up and caught them exactly the way we set up. We came in this match with confidence, and I am happy with the result,” he said.
In other Orange FA Cup matches played on Saturday, Great North Tigers beat Eleven Angels 4-3 and Kazungula Young Fighters beat White Diamonds 7-6 on penalties after a goalless stalemate.