Rollers maintain dominance over ECCO

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Rollers 2 (Majawa 65, Tshekiso 73)
ECCO 1 (Lenyeletse 79)

Defending champions Township Rollers maintained their dominance over ECCO City Greens when they beat them 2-1 in the first leg of the Mascom Top 8 quarterfinals played at the Molepolole Sports Complex on Saturday. The two sides met in the final of the same competition last year and Rollers won 3-1. Saturday's match was seen as the replay of last season's final where Onalethata Tshekiso, Tebogo Sembowa and Sekhana Koko's goals broke ECCO supporters' hearts.There were no major surprises in both sides' line-ups except that ECCO captain Emmanuel Nlu sat the whole match on the bench. Coach Atshele Molapi opted for Friday Radisweng who played alongside Zebras defender Keabetswe Jenamiso in central defence.

Radisweng repaid the coach's faith with a solid display, which earned him the Man of the Match award. The first half was fiercely contested in the middle of the park with neither side penetrating the other's defence. Rollers players appealed for a penalty in the 37th minute but the referee waved play-on. It appeared ECCO right back, Trinity Nko had handled the ball inside the box. In the second half, ECCO had an upper hand early on following Patrick Lenyeletse's move from the right wing to the left. He struggled in the first half against Rollers' nippy defender, Thato Bolweleng but became dangerous after switching to the left. In the 49th minute he set up Lesego Lubinda but the former BMC midfielder failed to hit the back of the net. The game slowly opened up and ECCO had another opportunity in the 64th minute but again failed to utilise it. Tendai Nyumasi found himself with only Rollers' goalkeeper, Mwampule Masule to beat but he shot wide. A minute after blowing the chance, Rollers pushed forward and midfielder Lawrence Majawa was given room outside on the edge of the box and struck a long range shot to beat ECCO goalkeeper, Chamunorwa Madamombe. Majawa who has since moved into an attacking position since the arrival of Zimbabwean midfielder, Brian Mapfumo was also involved in Rollers' second goal. He delivered a beautiful cross, which Madamombe failed to cut and second half substitute, Onalethata Tshekiso, easily tapped in.

Editor's Comment
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