Commanding Bantu pluck gritty Lioli

Widens gap at the EPL summit

NTHAKO MAJORO

MASERU – Bantu FC brightened their chances of winning this season’s league title with a hard fought 1-0 win over a determined Lioli at the Setsoto Stadium in Maseru on Thursday.

The log leaders went into the game with a chance to further stretch the lead at the top after Lioli faltered in its last games with a string of draws, and they didn’t disappoint as Lazola Tjokotjokwana scored in the 76th minute from a good pass from Hlompho Kalake in the left flank.

The visitors started well, taking the game to their opponents but Bantu managed to absorb the pressure until they found their rhythm and ended up dominating the play until the half time.

Lioli’s Khangela Zungu was gifted an opportunity to his side ahead in the 15th but his shot went over the upright. It was a good pass from in-form Tumelo Makha in the box after taking on Bantu’s last man Motlomelo Mokhonazi.

Bantu also had an opportunity three minutes later when Hlompho Kalake made a good run towards Lioli’s defence before giving the ball to Bokang Sello who crossed the ball to Tjokotjokwana – but he could not hold the ball, though the flag was already up for an offside. The score remained at 0-0 at half time. The hosts combined well in the second half, while Lioli seemed to struggle a bit.

In the 62nd minute Lioli were close to scoring but a well taken shot by Teboho Ntlama hit the crossbar with Bantu goalkeeper Ntsane Lichaba already beaten. Switberth Kum picked the rebound but his low shot was easily saved by Lichaba.

Lioli continued taking their chances and in the dying minutes of the game their equalizing goal was denied. This was a beautiful goal by Tumelo Makha, but assistant referee Souru Phatšoane had already raised his flag for an offside by another Lioli player.

Though it was a controversial offside, in all the second half was very interesting encounter that saw Bantu continue its dominance of the match.

In another game played earlier at the same venue Matlama FC came out 1-0 victorious against Lijabatho; on the same day Linare thumped Likhopo 3-0.

 

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