PILIKWE: Table-toppers Morupule Wanderers registered a 2-1 victory against a cohesive Nico United at Pilikwe Grounds on Saturday afternoon.
Wanderers displayed an untidy performance for a team that has been consistent and raked points with eye candy football, especially at home.
Majombolo played like a side that had nothing to lose, they were relaxed and maintained good shape for the better of the match. Wanderers vied for quick attacks and it worked out for their game plan.
They attempted long balls that were unfruitful. When they linked a few passes, they were able to create chances but often choked at the goals.
Wanderers coach Boyo Radipotsane admitted his charges were feeling the heat and lost shape. He was happy for the maximum points but believed his side could have paid heftily had Nico scored first.
“We won by pure luck. I think the pressure is beginning to kick in. We want to be quick to finish off the game, and it works us out. These are matters of mental strength that need a psychologist, we will correct it,” he said.
After an untidy opening, Wanderers were the first to land a chance after a quarter of an hour. The Nico defender misjudged the flight of a long ball and committed himself.
When the defender failed to clear, Kgololo Kgogobi found himself one-against-one with the goalkeeper and his attempted loft went wide.
Three minutes later, the former Gaborone United star player was at the end of another ball in the 16-yard box when the goalkeeper parried on his path. Kgogobi took his time and when he pulled the trigger the defender had recovered to block for a corner.
Majombolo looked more comfortable than the hosts. They nearly punished when Boikanyo Mapodisi pickpocketed a sloppy Tebogo Moroka and outnumbered the Wanderers defence.
Mapodisi laid a neat pass for Lesego Tapela in the penalty area. The attacking goalkeeper blocked his attempt. Wanderers captain Tshepho Baipoledi responded with a brilliant header from Kgogobi’s corner only to be denied by the crossbar.
The two clubs went to a break deadlocked. It took a penalty after over an hour for Wanderers to unlock the stubborn Majombolo. Kelepile Terata posted a lower corner.
Patrick Polelo mistakenly handled in the box when he climbed down to attempt a head-and-dive clearance and the referee pointed to the spot. Gosaitse Manuel stepped up and sent the goalkeeper the wrong side.
Majombolo opened up after the goal. They increased their numbers on the attack and became vulnerable at the back. Wanderer’s long balls became more threatening but the hosts continued to misuse their chances.
It took the brilliance of a defensive midfielder Comfort Dikupa to increase the lead on the 85th minute. Dikupa pounced into a poor clearance in front of the box and cheekily lobbed the goalkeeper who was out of his line.
Three minutes later Majombolo pulled one back when the Wanderers defence went into a slumber.
Substitute Thabang Makonyodi’s low cross from the right flank beat the goalkeeper and the unmarked Tapela tapped home. The goal came a little too late and the hosts held on to maximum points.
Majombolo coach Peter Muchina was pleased with the display. “We made two blunders and they cost us. I think overall the boys did well and were comfortable on the ball. It’s a good sign, we will finish in the top four,” he said.
Wanderers: Ontiretse Kolobe, Thopho Motheng (Samuel Makgoro), Kelepile Terata, Tshepo Baipoledi, Tebogo Moroka, Tshephang Boithatelo, Comfort Dikupa, Thabo Wetshoemang, Bakang Mogoloke, Gosaitse Manuel, Kgololo Kgogobi (Katlego Ralegoreng)
Nico United: Abbey Olebeng, Patrick Polelo, Mothusi Sekgobokgobo, Seabe Toteng, Derick Ramofi, Molwantwa Nkaelang, Kabo Gabatshele (Thabang Mokonyodi), Lesego Tapela, Ronald Tsvamuno, Boikanyo Mapodisi, Morgan Gaseitsewe
Wanderers 2 (Manuel 67th, Dikupa 85th)
NICO 1 (Tapela 88th)