Baroka take charge of destiny

Bak­gaga reg­is­ter first win of PSL play­offs to go top of the stand­ings

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - SOC­CER RE­PORTER

Baroka FC .................... (2) 2 Let­soalo 10, 42 Black Leop­ards ............. (0)1 Zimu 67

BAROKA FC pro­duced the first vic­tory of this sea­son’s PSL pro­mo­tion play-offs af­ter beat­ing Black Leop­ards yes­ter­day at Peter Mok­aba Sta­dium.

Their 2-1 vic­tory also sees them over­tak­ing Stel­len­bosch FC – with a two point lead – to stand alone on top of the minileague round robin stand­ings lead­ing into their tie with the Cape side at the same venue on Satur­day.

In the first pe­riod, the Leop­ards rear­guard strug­gled to han­dle the pressure from Baroka. They were caught on the back foot most of the time and when go­ing for­ward, they also strug­gled to in­fil­trate their op­po­si­tion. And that’s be­cause Bak­gaga came into this en­counter des­per­ate for a win, af­ter hav­ing failed to pro­tect their lead in their first meet­ing of the play-offs against Stel­len­bosch out in the West­ern Cape.

In that en­counter, Kgoloko Thobe­jane’ side con­ceded twice, af­ter hav­ing been the first ones to score in a 2-2 draw last month. Stel­len­bosch fol­lowed up this en­counter with an­other draw, this time a goal­less one against Baroka’s op­po­nents yes­ter­day.

Thobe­jane must have im­pressed a whole lot em­pha­sis on his side hold­ing their de­fen­sive line dur­ing their train­ing ses­sions, lead­ing up to this en­counter, as this was the one area they were weak in dur­ing their pre­vi­ous match.

In this match, his play­ers were spot on with their tack­les in the first half.

Not even the likes of Siphelele Nt­shangase, who is Li­doda Du­vha’s creative ge­nius in their fi­nal third, could breathe up front.

Olalenge Shaku and Co had him and his strik­ing part­ners on lock­down.

In the fi­nal third, Baroka en­joyed the most with re­gard to at­tack­ing free­dom.

They pressed their op­po­nents well and their ef­forts were re­warded as early as the 10th minute of the match.

Vic­tor Let­soalo reg­is­tered his first goal of the af­ter­noon af­ter curl­ing a back pass from Sipho Moeti over two Leop­ards de­fend­ers, who were lurk­ing to clear off his shot, af­ter their goal­keeper was knocked out.

Moeti had col­lided with Rot­shidzwa Maluleka, who rushed off his line to meet him at the edge of his box. Un­for­tu­nately, for the shot-stop­per, his head made con­tact with Moeti’s knee, which led to him be­ing sub­sti­tuted to re­ceive some med­i­cal at­ten­tion on the side­line.

Just three min­utes be­fore the break, Let­soalo scored his sec­ond of the af­ter­noon with a su­perb header, leav­ing sub­sti­tute shot-stop­per, Aubrey Moth­ibe, with no chance to make the re­quired save.

In the sec­ond pe­riod, Leop­ards fought hard to try and get back into the game and were able to find the back of the net through Mzi­wokuthula Zimu.

He eas­ily guided the ball into the back of the net af­ter Os­carine Ma­su­luke failed to han­dle an in­nocu­ous ball into his area, the on­com­ing shot slip­ping past through the goal­keeper’s fin­gers and falling into the path of the Leop­ards player, who eas­ily con­verted the chance.

PIC­TURE: BACK­PAGEPIX

CEL­E­BRA­TION TIME: Baroka FC’s Vic­tor Let­soalo cel­e­brates a goal dur­ing the PSL Pro­mo­tional Play­offs match be­tween his team and Black Leop­ards at the Peter Mok­aba Sta­dium. Braoka won 2-0

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