Bantu hold Township Rollers

Bantu hold Township Rollers

Lobatse, Botswana – Bantu claimed an important away goal on Tuesday night after they drew one-one with Botswana champions Township Rollers in a CAF Champions League preliminary round first leg tie in Lobatse.

The game, which was played at the Lobatse Sports Complex, started without any clear-cut opportunities for either team though visiting Bantu had the best chance to get a goal through Lazola Jokojokwane only for Rollers defender Mosha Gaolaolwe to make a last ditch tackle.

The home side could have broken the deadlock in the 20th minute through Segolome Boy’s free-kick but it went inches wide. It was the first warning for ‘A Matšo Matebele’.
Besides the chances Bantu missed in the first half some of the standout performers for the Lesotho champions included goalkeeper Ntsane Lichaba, who denied Joel Mogorosi with a great save towards the end of the first half, and defender Motlomelo Mkhwanazi who was a rock in defence.

The second half started differently from the first one with Township Rollers taking more control of the game and their efforts finally paid off in the 57th when Thatayaone Ditlhokwe connected with a ball from a cornerkick to make it 1-0.

However, the home fans’ joy was short-lived as Bantu hit back exactly two minutes later through Litšepe Marabe to earn a much needed away goal.
The Econet Premier League champions managed the game very well from that point and could have taken the game away from Rollers had they converted their chances.
Speaking after the game Bantu head coach James Madidilane admitted he was disappointed with the chances his players missed to kill off the match.

He said finishing is what ‘A Matšo Matebele’ need to focus on when they welcome Township Rollers to Setsoto Stadium for the second leg next Tuesday.
“I am disappointed because in the first half we had three chances, second half we got two,” the Bantu mentor said.

“When we go back home we will make sure we rectify those mistakes and put the ball behind the back of the net. We will score more than one goal (in the second leg).”
Their missed opportunities aside, Madidilane said his players carried out Bantu’s game-plan to perfection.

“Coming into this game we told ourselves that we are playing away and we are going to let (Rollers) have the ball in their own half in such a way that observe the pressure and try to catch them on the break and it happened exactly like that,” Madidilane said.

“We got three clear-cut chances which I felt we should have converted but we failed, but I must say our game-plan coming into this match worked very well and we got an away goal.”
Madidilane said he was proud of the performance his charges put in to claim the potentially vital away goal.

“That’s exactly what we wanted, we wanted to get something out of this game and when we get home our game-plan is going to change,” he said.
“My offensive players, my midfielders worked hard defensively but when we get back home we are not going to sit back.”

The South African tactician said ‘A Matšo Matebele’ will take the game to Township Rollers as they seek to seal the tie and progress to a match against the Democratic Republic of Congo’s AS Vita in the next round.

“We are going to take the game to Rollers and see how they react, so our game plan is going to change completely,” Madidilane said.
“We worked hard to get something out of this game but credit to the supporters they came here in such numbers and it made it easy for the players.”

Luciah Phahla

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