Mat­lama ma face old d foes in n fi­nal

Sunday Express - - FRONT PAGE - Moorosi Tsiane and Mikia Kalati

PRe­MIeR league bit­ter ri­vals Mat­lama and Bantu will con­test the LNIG Top8 fi­nal at Set­soto Sta­dium this af­ter­noon in a re­peat of last year’s In­de­pen­dence Cup semi-fi­nal in which Tse Put­soa came out tops fol­low­ing a penalty shootout.

Bantu were the first to book a place in the fi­nal af­ter thrash­ing Likhopo 3-0, with striker La­zola Tjokotjokoane break­ing the dead­lock in the 17th minute be­fore Nzenze Nkulu ex­tended the lead in the 38th minute and Mokone Marabe com­pleted the rout in the 85th minute.

Bantu coach, Mot­latsi Shale, ad­mit­ted that it is go­ing to be a dif­fer­ent ball game when they face Mat­lama in the fi­nal at 3pm to­day.

“We did very well against Likhopo and I must say I was a bit sur­prised that we beat them 3-0 be­cause we played to a one-all draw about two weeks ago in a league match,” Shale said.

“Like I said, our am­bi­tion is to win this tour­na­ment be­cause it has al­ways eluded us.”

The Bantu men­tor said he was very sat­is­fied with the per­for­mance of his charges and ex­pects a more im­proved per­for­mance against a Mat­lama team that al­ways rises to oc­ca­sions.

“If you re­call, we lost to Mat­lama in the semi-fi­nal of the In­de­pen­dence Cup and we have to be bet­ter pre­pared to beat them,” Shale said.

“We have to be on top of our game to beat them be­cause Mat­lama are a good side and their con­fi­dence is very high at the mo­ment.”

Mean­while, Mat­lama beat LCS 9-8 in a marathon penalty shootout af­ter both sides had failed to find the back of the net in nor­mal time.

How­ever, Tse Put­soa dom­i­nated the match but squan­dered a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties to win the tie in reg­u­la­tion time.

Mat­lama coach, Nte­bele ‘Tata’ Taole, said he was very im­pressed with his team af­ter elim­i­nat­ing a stub­born LCS in the semi-fi­nal match.

“We have not been do­ing well in the league and this is a chance for us to re­pay our sup­port­ers’ faith with a tro­phy,” Taole said.

“I’m very happy that the team has reached an­other fi­nal in a space of five months af­ter los­ing the In­de­pen­dence tro­phy to Li­oli in oc­to­ber last year.

“It was a les­son for us as it was very painful and we have to be well pre­pared for the fi­nal on Sun­day.”

Mat­laMa for­ward Jane tha­bantso (right) vies for the ball with his lCS coun­ter­part Khethisa Masenyetsa in the LNIG Top8 semi­fi­nal at Set­soto Sta­dium yes­ter­day.

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