SEROWE: Thatayaone ‘Popo’ Ramatlapeng won his second FA Cup Man-Of-The-Match award and scored a winning stunner in an entertaining affair against BR Highlanders in Serowe on Saturday.
The nippy striker was overwhelmed after a tough run. He said the award was a result of hard work. “I put in a load of extra work every day. My legs can still carry me, and I am targeting a move outside the country,” he said.
Security Systems settled quickly thanks to a penalty in the opening minute. Phomolo Moahi handled a cross inside the box and the referee pointed to the spot.
Osego Gaotewe bagged the spot kick to hand his side the all-important early goal. Highlanders endured a heavy start due to the goal. They struggled to work themselves back into the game.
Ronald Chikomo came close to adding a second only to see his header sail inches over.
Highlanders’ only shot at goal in the first half was a desperate 45 yard drive from Goitseone Legopelo that went wide.
They tried holding onto possession, but Systems was not unsettled and often tried to catch their opponents with counter attacks. Against the Highlanders players, Systems settled for a power play.
In a series of attacks at the Highlanders goal, Kago Nfila had his goal ruled out for an offside when he met Kaelo Kgaswane’s free kick at the far post. Thapelo Tlabakwe’s shot from 18 yards was parried out for a corner.
The busy Highlanders goalkeeper pulled another great save to deny Thatayaone Ramatlapeng a cracking goal from the right side to ensure they do not concede again before the break.
From the break Highlanders started the better. They had a few chances at the Systems goals. Legopelo saw his drive from 30 yards parried to safety.
Ramatlapeng shut the hosts with a contender for the best goal of the competitions four minutes into the half. He latched on a defender’s block and beat the keeper hands down with a rocket into the top right corner from outside the box.
Highlanders worked themselves back into the game. They settled and became fluid on attacks. They rained balls into the Systems goalsmouth, only for goals to elude them.
Systems found it difficult to hold the Highlanders onslaught from all directions. Highlanders could have pulled one back when Tumo Keiketile posted a diagonal cross into the box, but his attackers were flat-footed to poke into the net.
Keiketile grew dangerous with the game on the left wing. He posted an identical cross at the death of the game and Bame Morwalela poked home.
The goal came too late and Systems were happy to run down the game. Daniel ‘Chicco’ Nare admitted they were at sixes and sevens but said they did well against a side that was becoming a hoodoo for them.
“They are a young side with a good character. We played them twice in the league and managed only a draw in the other game. Our experience worked against them today, and we are happy,” he said.
His Highlanders counterpart, Blessing Moyo was also full of praise for his young charges. He said the early goal in the game unsettled his young guns.
“We conceded too early, and it piled pressure on the boys. We are learning unfortunately in a tough environment. But we gave a good account of ourselves,” he said.
Highlanders: Isaac Moyo, Moahi, Thabang Mooketsi, Onkarabile Tsheko, Leteng Legopelo, Goitseone Legopelo, Olopeng Dintwa (Boikobo Osupile), Kealeboga Oitsile (Bame Morwalela), Remmington Masuku, Sohiwe Matlala, Keiketile
Systems: Joseph Gojaamang, Nfila, Kaelo Kgaswane, Gaotewe, Bophelo Macheng, Pilato, Michael Pillar (Thato Ogopotse), Ramatlapeng, Kenanao Kgetlholetsile (Eric Molefi), Chikomo (Emmanuel Sekwena), Tlabakwe
Cautions: Sekwena, Nfila, Mooketsi, Morwalela, Masuku, Oitsile
Highlanders 1 (Morwalela 89th)
Systems 2 (Gaotewe 2nd Pen, Ramatlapeng 49th)