FA Cup delivers the thrills

Thrill-a-minute: Orange FA Cup matches lived up to expectations PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
Thrill-a-minute: Orange FA Cup matches lived up to expectations PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE

The 607-day wait for the resumption of the Orange FA Cup was worthwhile after the weekend quarterfinal matches reminded fans of the thrills that come along with knockout football.

The four games lived up to the saying ‘wa bonya wa jewa' (you snooze, you lose), as fans were kept on the edge of their seats. Each of the four games brought a different dimension of cup football and 14 goals were scored making it an average of three and a half goals per match. The ties surely thrilled the thousands glued to their television sets and the handful who thronged the various stadia. On Friday evening, Jwaneng Galaxy and Notwane stuck to a perfect script of a national cup-tie quarterfinal.

The pair entered the fixture against contrasting backgrounds. Galaxy were enjoying a spell after reaching the CAF Champions League quarterfinals, while Notwane were still chasing their first win of the season. In the first half, the teams were level in terms of scores and play. The final 45 minutes produced a thriller. Despite Notwane drawing first blood, Galaxy came back to score four to win the match 4-1. The five goals were scored in one half, as a goal was scored every nine minutes of the second stanza.

Two red cards were brandished on the evening with Galaxy’s duo, Thabo Leinanyane and Doctor David, given their marching orders in a space of two minutes. It was a temperamental game at the Lobatse Sports Complex under floodlights as seven yellow cards were dished. On Saturday, Gaborone United (GU) was made to sweat through to the semi-final. Unlike the Friday evening tie, the match produced a single goal as GU beat Police XI 1-0.

The two teams came into the match trying to protect their unbeaten runs.

They dished a very tactical game at the Royal Aria Stadium aware the slightest of mistakes could make a difference. As soon as Kekaetswe Moloi was left unattended in the box, he rose high to head home and the goal was the difference on the day. At the Francistown City Council Stadium, Masitaoka had to come from a goal down to beat second-tier side Calendar Stars 3-1. Majatlhaga’s coach, Nelson Olebile bemoaned his side's failure to assert themselves against a rather weaker opponent. In the electrifying game, Masitaoka rewrote the script as Goliath stamped on David to reach the last four.

In the last quarterfinal match, Rollers were not to be denied a spot in the last four against Mahalapye Railway Highlanders. Hasaan Oktay’s troops were perfect in the one-way traffic tie that ended 4-0.

It could have been more as Popa reminded fans how giants swat aside on minnows in big ties. Highlanders did not produce the fightback expected of them as Rollers were near perfect at the Royal Aria Stadium. The four games produced different aspects of cup-ties and one should expect more thrills in the semi-finals to be played early December. Masitaoka will face Township Rollers in the semi-finals while GU take on Galaxy in the other semi-final. The ties will be played on the weekend of December 4 and 5, 2021.

Editor's Comment
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