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Lioli stun Matlama

Business

Chris Theko

Berea based premier league giants; Lioli stunned their rivals, Matlama to clinch their second Alliance Winter Challenge Tournament title on Sunday at Maputsoe DiFA stadium. 

The final which was played in a packed stadium had to be decided on a 4-2 penalty shootout following 2-2 stalemate at the end of the 90 minutes regulation time. 

Both sides faced off in a chance to renew their rivalry after both won their semifinals on Saturday.  Lioli were the first to book a slot into the final after edging LCS 4-3 in a penalty shootout following a goalless draw in regular time.

Matalama was bossing proceeding in the first half and that would result in a Lerotholi Zwane goal in the 27th minute. Tse Putsoa continued pilling pressure on their opponents and looked threatening. Their second goal was netted by Moteloa Khemisi as Zwane turned provider on the stroke of the 39th minute.

But, the second half would be a whole different ball game with Lioli taking over the midfield and controlling the tempo of the game.

It would not be long until Tse Nala got a goal following Matlama’s defence failure to clear the ball in the box and Relebohile Tlabaki sloted in a loose ball.

Thabo Matsoele was replaced by Batlang Moepi while John Mohai was replaced by Shadi Lekhotla in the two of substitutions made by Matlama on the 74th minute. 

Soon after their introduction, Lekhotla handled the ball inside Matlama’s penalty area and a penalty was given, Thabang Klass making no mistake making it 2-2 at full time sending the game into penalty shootout.   

Bob Mafoso highlighted that his team is still new with most players joining the club in the current transfer period, but was overall happy with how they applied themselves in the second half having gone to the break two goals down.

“If you look at both teams, Matlama is more the experienced side in terms of playing finals and my players were making a number of mistakes in the first half due to being inexperienced, so I had to talk to them at the break to,” Mafosos said.

“We are a new team so it is not easy to change tactics in the middle of the game, but we managed to execute that well after the break. We had energy and won possession and started being comfortable which is why we won managed to score goals.”     

The victory gave Lioli an opportunity to fight for their second title of the tournament after they first won it in 2018

Matlama faced Lioli after beating Linare 1-0, thanks to a lone Jane Thabantšo’s early first half goal.

Matlama were looking to secure the cup for a second time since winning it in 2015.

Matlama coach, Molebatsi Mothobi expressed his disappointment of how his players lost control of the game, but stated that he knew not to expect an easy game due to the tactical ability possessed by their opponents.

He added that the tournament does not give a full picture of his side’s readiness to compete in the CAF. 

Matalama were also using the tournament as part of their final preparations ahead of the CAF Champion’s league preliminary rounds next month.

They will face Caton Sport of Cameroon in the two legs. 

“Lioli is a good team tactically and they have good new players. We came into the tie knowing very well that it was not going to be an easy one especially when they played before us yesterday so that gave them more time to rest compared to us,”

“I cannot fully say the games gave us a picture of how we are going to perform at the CAF champion’s league because the level of competition is different”.    

The victory marks Bob Mafoso’s first Cup as the Lioli coach while ending the side’s three-year trophy drought.   

Earlier on the day, LCS defeated Linare 2-0 in the third place final.   

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