Gaborone United (GU) and Township Rollers connived to dish sumptuous football. With the tie dismissed as a dead rubber, after Rollers took a commanding 2-0 from the first leg, GU roared back in stunning fashion to win the tie, after a 3-3 aggregate score deadlock at the end of an absorbing 120 minutes.
GU had to play ball; and they did. The Reds put The Blues under considerable pressure and asked their traditional rivals uncomfortable questions throughout the thrill-a-minute encounter. There was every ingredient that makes a tasty football encounter; the goals, fiery exchanges, a red card and drama.
It was a typical derby and on the football side, was good advert for the local game.
GU had already halved the deficit from the first leg by the time the teams disappeared for the half time break.
Obonye Maome found Thatayaone Kgamanyane, who sprung past the offside trap to beat Keoagile Kgosipula in goals for Rollers.
There was further drama when with seven minutes to full time, Maome had the GU fans on their feet when he arrowed a shot from outside the box. There were nail-biting moments for Rollers as Gaopatwe Seosenyeng and Kgamanyane took turns to miss right at the death.
With the two teams deadlocked at 2-2 after 90 minutes, a further 30 was played. Rollers thought they had struck the winner when Tumisang Orebonye fired home in the 109th minute. During the extra time interval, Rollers substitute, Motsholetsi Sikele was shown a straight red card. There had been several skirmishes during the encounter, as players had to be separated at one stage.
In extra time, Maome missed from the penalty spot, after veteran striker, Jerome Ramatlhakwana had been fouled in the box.
Dirang Moloi scored the priceless goal that meant the tie ended deadlocked after extra time.
When the referee, brought the tie to an end, Rollers thought they had booked their place in the final. Scores of fans trooped out, concluding the match had ended.
But it took the intervention of a member of the competition’s organising committee, to alert the teams and officials that the match had to proceed to penalties.
Rollers had considered walking-off, but after convincing, they took part in the shoot-out, with reports that they were playing under protest, which was later denied.
The away goal rule caused an ugly end to the game, as officials were seen engaged in heated exchanges. Botswana Premier League chief executive officer, Thabo ‘Stiles’’Ntshinogang said they were waiting for the prosecutor’s feedback after furnishing him with the match reports.
“We have submitted match reports to the prosecutor, for him to study. If in his view, he believes that charges are to be laid, he will do so,” Ntshinogang said.