MOLEPOLOLE: Township Rollers kicked off their Mascom Top 8 campaign in style, defeating Molepolole City Stars 2-0 in the first leg of the quarterfinal.
The game was aplayed at Molepolole Sports Complex on Saturday afternoon. Rollers will now carry advantage of two away goals ahead of the second leg to be played at the Royal Aria Stadium.
Goals in each half from Lemponye Tshireletso and Segolame Boy were enough to hand Rollers their win under very hot temperatures.
Both sides were cautious in the early stages of the match with neither having a shot at goal inside the first quarter of the match. The home side asked the first question in the 20th minute. Skipper Monageng Thaele whipped a good cross into the box only for Kago Kwena to head over the bar. In the 32nd minute, Kamogelo Matsabu was released by Tshireletso on a one-on-one with the goalkeeper. But he astonishingly shot over the bar.
A minute later, City Stars goalkeeper, Thabiso Mathe was forced to make a one-handed save to tip away a shot by Boy. From the corner kick, Simisani Mathumo headed over the bar as Rollers started look menacing in attack.
Popa broke the deadlock with just four minutes to the break; Tshireletso squeezed the ball from a tight angle beating on rushing goalkeeper as Rollers took a 1-0 lead into the halftime break.
Few minutes into the second half, former Rollers forward, Sekhana Koko, now in City colour had a go at goal but his attempt was blocked by Ofentse Nato.
Popa doubled the lead with a superb long-range strike from Boy beating the goalkeeper to the top corner in the 66th minute.
Four minutes later, substitute Tlhalefo Molebatsi had his shot blocked by Mathe before Tshireletso missed from close range. Boy later found Motsholetsi Sikele but the latter shot wide inside the box. Six minutes to time, Molebatsi then tested Mathe with a powerful shot from the left side of the box, after a Rollers short corner.
“We had this target that we should not concede and at least score two goals. I think we could have scored more but I am happy with the results,” Rollers’ coach Tomas Trucha said after the match.
But it was going back to the drawing board for his counterpart, Wame Mokoke who sang the blues.
“We started well. We had a plan but we failed to execute. They won the midfield battle. That is when we started chasing. We thought we could hold them since they are a big side. We will go back and prepare for the second leg,” he said.
City Stars: Mathe, Tlhalefo Kame, Khumo Bogale, Kwena, Botlhe Rakaki, Kabo Rasuping, Thaele (Benson Ramolelwane), Ofentse Mmipi, Stephen Sibanda (Thapelo Tlhase), Koko (Tinashe Chipunza), Tsogang Israel
Rollers: Wagarre Dikago, Matsabu, Ditlhokwe, Mathumo, Nato, Ivan Mbowa, Edwin Moalosi (Molebatsi), Mothusi Cooper, Boy, Tshireletso (Phenyo Serameng), Sikele (Tumisang Orebonye)
Cautions: Mbowa, Mokoke
City Stars 0
Rollers 2 (Tshireletso 41st, Boy 66th)