It’s advantage Matlama

It’s advantage Matlama

MASERU – The Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) dressing room at Setsoto Stadium was consumed by silence, the players dressed quickly and left.
‘Masheshena’ had a few moments before they suffered a crushing defeat to Matlama which may change the course of an Econet Premier League title race which is likely to go down to the wire.
LCS soared into last Saturday’s game at the national stadium.

They were unbeaten since October, on top of the Econet Premiership and boasted a four-point cushion on second-placed Matlama.
90 minutes later it had all come crashing down.
The undefeated streak was history and, more importantly, the gap at the top was cut to one point with Matlama also having the luxury of a game in hand on LCS.
It is missed opportunity which may come back to haunt ‘Masheshena’.

With a win LCS would have opened a seven-point lead at the top of the league and asserted a vice grip on the title race.
Instead, they lost 2-1 in a topsy-turvy game.
For everyone involved with LCS it was a heart-breaking loss.

Late in the game ‘Masheshena’ had thought they were at least leaving Setsoto with a point – which would still have been fine in the greater scheme of things – when Setho Moshoeshoe cancelled out Rethabile Mokokoane’s opener for ‘Tse Putsoa’.

However, with just five minutes remaining in the game, LCS tormentor Jane Thaba-Ntšo stole a winner for Matlama to break ‘Masheshena’ hearts.
Afterwards, LCS head coach Mpitsa Marai admitted his “big disappointment” at the result but insisted there is no time to cry.
LCS have to pick themselves up and focus on getting maximum results in their next game, the ‘Masheshena’ boss said.

Marai urged LCS to remain focused on their goal which is to win the Econet Premier League title and end a seven-year trophyless torture for the club.
“We now have to focus on other teams, we are done with Matlama and we have to win all the games we are going to play; now it is a must to win those games,” he said.
Marai refused to be drawn into whether the pressure is now on LCS after last Saturday’s loss.

Matlama are certainly feeling good after their win while the door is also now wide open for champions Bantu to re-enter the championship battle.
‘A Matšo Matebele’ are 14 points behind LCS but have five games in hand thanks to their numerous CAF adventures over the past two months. Theoretically, Bantu can collect 15 points and leapfrog LCS if they win all their games in hand.

It also remains to be seen whether ‘Masheshena’ will wilt in the second half of the season as was the case last season when LCS eventually finished fifth after a promising start to the campaign.
Then there is the undeniable fact that club is desperate to end what is now the longest trophy drought in their history.
Marai, however, pointed out that ‘Masheshena’ are still on top of the league which, at the end of the day, is where every team wishes to be.

“We are working on our mind-set (as a team) to keep the players on track with our goals this season; there is no pressure,” Marai said.
“What is important is to make our players aware that we are not under any pressure. Yes, Matlama have a game in hand and we all don’t know if they will win or lose but we are still on top of the league.”

“Our problem is that we have many players out with injuries and some of them played with injuries on Saturday. There was nothing we could do but the next game we will try using every player we have,” Marai added. “I think my players played well (against Matlama), we just did not have the luck on the day, especially during the first half.”

Nkheli Liphoto

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