Monday, March 1, 2021

Misfiring Gunners shot down as Green Lovers register first win

As the misfiring Extension Gunners left the pitch after being gunned down by Moatlhodi Ralesota’s solitary goal, the process was more of a funeral for both players and supporters. Heads bowed, the players nearly beat a hasty retreat to the dressing rooms to avoid their supporters who were still sitting stunned on the stands, only for them to be called back to acknowledge the supporters. As the team disappeared into the dressing room from their parade of shame, the supporters could be seen huddled together trying to analyse how the team’s once promising title campaign had died.

 

As the supporters held their own post mortem at the SSKB Stadium, where they had just seen their team lose a game they should and probably could have won, Head Coach Oupa Kowa was having his own post mortem analysis with the media. For stretches of the entire match, Gunners had controlled the proceedings and created chances. But as with all their past five previous games, they dropped points. “Another good game, another loss. It does not really help to keep saying that but it is part of the game. We took this game well prepared and I think statistically, we had more shots on goal, we had more possession, but at the end of the day we got no goals and that is where the problem lies,” Kowa said and was probably right. 

 

Against the league rookies on Saturday afternoon, Gunners started brightly and pressed Green Lovers, with their wingers Tshegofatso Chimuku and Kelelelo Kgosimore causing countless problems for the Green Lovers defence. As early as the 5th minute, Gunners had had their first shot at goal from a set piece after striker Mogomotsi Mokoka had been fouled just outside the area. Mokoka, who had dusted himself off, took the responsibility but fired his set piece wide. The striker would then get another chance to put his team in front on the 11th minute when Chimuku’s well threaded pass found him, but the striker shot went wayward once again. Midway through the first half, Chimuku made his way into the box but his attempted shot flashed past the upright. Despite making inroads and carving the Green Lovers defence at will, the Peleng side could not make it count and they paid a hefty price for their wastefulness as Ralesota scored in the last minute of the first half to give his team a lead.

 

With the referee having awarded them a foul, the resultant set piece was floated nicely into the path of Ralesota, whose weak header was fumbled into the net by Gunners keeper Wagarre Dikago. The goal was enough to silence what had by then been a vociferous Gunners crowd. Despite a valiant effort to come back in the second half, it was more of the same as their goal shy forwards failed to come up with a goal and Green Lovers held on for their first win away from home. In his post match analysis, Green Lovers Coach Onthusitse Kootswele expressed happiness with his team’s first win on the road, saying it will help them as they find their feet in the bePremiership. Going into the game, Kootswele, who admitted luck was on their side on the day, said they had planned to absorb all the pressure and frustrate Gunners and its supporters and to hit them on the counter.

 

“As much as their choir is helping them, we knew we had to turn it against them. That was the plan and that is what we did, we turned their supporters against them,” Kootswele explained. “We absorbed the pressure and by the grace of God, we managed. They (Gunners) could have scored as they missed two good chances which was our luck. Sometimes when you try to absorb pressure, a team will score against you, but on the day, it worked for us,” Kootswele concluded. The loss was a third consecutive for the Lobatse giants, with all the three losses being by a solitary goal. Gunners, who will be away to BDF XI for their next game, now sit eighth (8) on the log standings while Green Lovers moved to ninth (9) position.

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