Township Rollers’ coach, Tomas Trucha was disappointed after his side was knocked out of the CAF Champions League preliminary round on a 2-1 aggregate score by Tanzania’s Yanga.
Yanga 1 (Balinya 40th)
The two teams played to a 1-1 draw a fortnight ago, but Popa lost 1-0 on Saturday afternoon thanks to Juma Balinya’s 40th minute free kick at the National Stadium.
Popa, for a second consecutive season failed to progress to the next round of the competition since a very successful 2017/2018 season in the continental club spectacle.
“I am disappointed with the exit because we had a big chance of progressing, both teams deserved to proceed to the next round, but on the knockout stage only one can go through.
So I am disappointed that we could not. They scored from a free kick and we could not score a penalty. We missed a lot of chances away, only if we could have taken them because I had expected a difficult game at home. Unfortunately, they scored a free kick, the goalkeeper did not have a chance. It was not really a tight game both teams could have won,” Trucha told journalists after the game.
Early into the game, both teams tried to open up spaces but could not really get into the final third and resorted to long range shots from outside the box. In what was a very quiet first half, Thatayaone Ditlhokwe with five minutes to the halftime break, fouled Patrick Sibomana just in front of the box. Balinya stepped up and curled the set piece into the top corner to give the visitors the lead going into the break.
Rollers came into the second half with an extra ounce of urgency while the visitors sat back and looked for counter attacks. On the 57th minute, Motsholetsi Sikele from right wing delivered a low pass into the box but Segolame Boy was late to meet the cross.
Five minutes later, Popa were awarded a penalty after Kamohelo Matsabu was fouled in the box. But Yanga goalkeeper, Boniface Mhata saved Boy’s kick.
Minutes later, Mhata was called once again into action and easily dealt with Maano Ditshupo’s long-range shot. Popa kept knocking as Mhata once dealt with Galabgwe Moyana’s shot in the 70th minute. Four minutes to time, substitute Kitso Mpuisang headed wide Boy’s teasing cross into the box. The visitors held 1-0 lead to time as they bagged a vital win to progress to next stage.
Rollers: Wagarre Dikago, Matsabu, Ofentse Nato, Ditlhokwe, Moyana, Ditshupo (Jackson Lesole), Mothusi Cooper, Boy, Sikele (Mpuisang), Orebonye, Serameng (Tlhalefo Molebatsi)
Yanga: Mhata, Ally Mtoni, Kevin Patrick, Mapinduzi Balama, Mohammed Juma (Salum Abdalla), Sibomana, Balinya, Sadney Urikhob, Papy Tshishimbi, Paulo Nyanganya