Jane sinks Linare

Jane sinks Linare

MASERU – Jane Thaba-Ntšo was Matlama’s hero on Wednesday afternoon as he netted a late winner to secure ‘Tse Putsoa’ a precious 1-0 win over Linare in an Econet Premier League encounter played at Setsoto Stadium.
The vital three points means the champions keep pace with runaway leaders Bantu.

Thanks to the win Matlama jumped into second place on the log with 13 points, five behind ‘A Matšo Matebele’, with both sides having played six games.

Thaba-Ntšo’s winner was all the more timely because Matlama and Bantu clash in a top of the table blockbuster on Sunday at Setsoto, a game that already feels like a title decider even though the season is only two months old.

Until the Likuena international’s late intervention, it appeared the champions were headed for a frustrating draw and more dropped points while they watched their rivals Bantu start the campaign with a perfect record of six wins from six games.

However, Matlama’s prayers were answered four minutes from the time when Linare goalkeeper Sele Thetsane spilled Teboho Lillane’s freekick straight at Thaba-Ntšo’s feet.

The Matlama attacker couldn’t miss and the win will ease some of the pressure on ‘Tse Putsoa’ coach Charles Manda. The Malawian came under fire after Matlama lost 1-0 to Lesotho Mounted Police Service on Sunday, a defeat which came just days after a 1-1 draw with newly-promoted Lijabatho.
Manda’s charges managed to avoid the commotion of a third match without a win.

“It was a tough game, both teams coming from losses, it was a battle of supremacy, no team wanted to lose,” Manda said afterwards.
“As you saw, we scored late in the second half; we squandered lot of chances maybe in the first 20 minutes of the game but (in the) second half we brought some experience.”

Bantu had claimed a 1-0 win over Likhopo on Tuesday which heaped pressure on Matlama and may explain their jittery start in front of goals.
The two title favourites will now lock horns on Sunday in their first meeting of the season.

“A win is a win,” Manda said. “This game (against Linare) we played well according to the plan; I am happy with the win. We will take only the positives from this game into the next game against Bantu and the negatives we will start working on them from tomorrow.

This win has calmed us down. We were all wondering what is going on but we are calm,” he added. For Linare this is a worst case scenario.
The loss was their third on the spin and ‘Tse Tala’ are already closer to the relegation zone than they are to challenging for league honours.
Linare head coach Lehlohonolo ‘Freeze’ Ntene bemoaned his team’s recent slate which has seen them face Lioli, Bantu and Matlama in their last three games.

He admitted the Leribe side is now under pressure.
“In a period of two weeks we have played Lioli, Bantu, and Matlama, all these games have their own pressure,” Ntene said.

“If you look at it, even fatigue is creeping in and the pressure to get results (is increasing). If you lose the week before and then you play another big team and you lose pressure becomes too much but, anyway, so far so good.

Congratulations to Matlama for the win,” the Linare coach continued.
“We have about five or six games left in the first round (of the season). We will sit down and prepare. Tactically, Matlama weren’t better than us but we didn’t create a lot of chances and lacked aggression.”

Tlalane Phahla

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