Rel­e­ga­tion fight rages to the bit­ter end

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

THE rel­e­ga­tion dog­fight will con­tinue to the bit­ter end with Mphat­lalat­sane, Lik­ila United, Linare and Rovers all hop­ping to avoid the dreaded chop.

The last two sides on the 14-team premier­ship ta­ble will drop to the A Divi­sion come end of the sea­son and re­placed by Butha-buthe War­riors and sky bat­tal­ion who have won au­to­matic pro­mo­tion spots in the North and South streams re­spec­tively.

As things stand, Mphat­lalat­sane are bot­tom of the ta­ble with 15 points — five adrift of 13th and 12th placed Lik­ila United and Linare.

Linare and Mat­lama are the only teams which have never been rel­e­gated from the topflight league.

How­ever, that proud record is likely to be bro­ken this sea­son as the Hlotse-based Linare con­tinue to strug­gle and are still win­less since the sec­ond round of the sea­son started in Jan­uary.

Linare came close to win­ning their first match of the sea­son this past weekend, but squan­dered a 2-0 lead to al­low Bantu to get back into the game and score twice in the sec­ond half for the game, which saw the game fin­ish­ing 2-2.

Tse Tala also missed a penalty in that game which could have handed them a 3-2 win against the in­con­sis­tent A Matšo Mate­bele.

The mot­latsi shale-coached side has shown a lot of im­prove­ment in re­cent matches and might fancy their chances of sur­vival in the re­main­ing three matches which start against fel­low strug­glers Lik­ila United on Satur­day. That tie would be fol­lowed by yet an­other door-die tie against Rovers and then lastly Li­oli on 8 may.

For Lik­ila United, it looks like their fairy­tale in the premier league will fi­nally come to an end this sea­son.

This is the side that sur­prised all and sundry last sea­son by forc­ing their way into the top 8 in their first sea­son in the premier league.

How­ever, the de­par­ture of coach Bob Mafoso, who left for Sun­dawana at the start of this sea­son, seemed to have hurt the ButhaButhe side as they have strug­gled to em­u­late their hero­ics of last term.

Yet of all the four teams fight­ing for sur­vival, Mphat­lalat­sane ap­pear to be in a more des­per­ate state as they must win all their three re­main­ing matches and hope the oth­ers lose their fix­tures, to stand any chance of beat­ing the drop.

The St Mon­ica’s side must beat Sun­dawana this Satur­day or their fate will be de­cided in that very same match and end their three- sea­son stay in the topflight league.

Af­ter Sun­dawana, Mphat­lalat­sane face Linare and Lik­ila United and con­sid­er­ing th­ese two are also des­per­ate for points, the matches are not go­ing to be easy at all.

Rovers — the other side in trou­ble — would need to dig deep if they are to save them­selves from rel­e­ga­tion af­ter a sin­gle sea­son in in the premier league.

The Dynamites started the sea­son very well and in the first round, were among the top five teams in the league. How­ever, their stan­dards started to drop and mostly due to off-field prob­lems.

And de­spite their re­cent boost of get­ting spon­sor­ship from Metropoli­tan Le­sotho, the univer­sity side have found it very dif­fi­cult to get out of the dan­ger zone.

Rovers on Satur­day face a Likhopo side equally des­per­ate for points to make it into the top-four come end of the sea­son.

The last two matches are against Li­oli and Liphakoe away from home, com­pound­ing an al­ready com­plex sit­u­a­tion.

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