Friday, March 24, 2023

Orapa bridges the gap as league enters business end

Orapa United narrowed the gap between themselves and log leaders Township Rollers with a 1 ÔÇô 0 away win against Gaborone United (GU) over the weekend. In a game played at the Molepolole Sports Complex on Saturday afternoon, all Madinda Ndlovu’s charges needed was a well taken Ronald Chikomo strike to clinch what may be a very crucial win in their title challenge. With just a minute remaining from an uneventful first half, the former GU striker managed to stave off his markers and dink a ball over the advancing Michael Pepukani, who was manning the GU goalkeepers in the absence of regular keeper Goitseone Phoko. 

The goal, which turned a match winner when the final whistle blew, ensured Orapa United went into recess ahead of their opponents. From recess, the match came to life as both teams went in search of goals. While Orapa were quick off the blocks, the first real chance of the game fell to GU in the 51st minute when their marksman Benson Shilongo found himself a recipient of a pass in the box after some delicate interchanging passes. Though his teammate Ntesang Simanyana stood unmarked in front of him, Shilongo opted for an audacious bicycle kick that flew over the bar. A chance was missed, much to the chagrin of his teammates. GU nearly paid dearly for the miss as at the other end, the referee pointed to the spot after Chikomo was fouled inside the box. Patrick Lenyeletse stepped up to take the resultant penalty, but Pepukani dived low to save it and keep GU in the game. GU created at least two more chances to draw level, but in both cases, their trusted marksman Shilongo failed to find the back of the net. At the other end, Mandlenkosi Sibanda had a chance to give his team an assurance goal when he came at the end of a Lenyeletse pass, but the striker shot wide as Orapa held on to clinch all the three points and underline their title credentials. Commenting on his team’s first outing after the festive break, Ndlovu said the encounter with GU was ‘very difficult,’ more so as his team was playing away. Asked whether his team is going for the league title, the Zimbabwean gaffer, though cautious not to openly say it, said it is his ‘ambition, just like any other coach, to win the league.’ For his part, GU interim coach, George Mogopodi, though disappointed with the outcome, expressed happiness with his team’s performance. Mogopodi was however not happy with Rollers’ failure to create more chances, something which he said they need to work hard on.

Starting Lineups;

GU: Pepukani, Gaopatwe Seosenyeng, Thabiso Khunwane, Edwin Olerile, Osego Gaotewe, Thato Ogopotse, Alphonse Modisaotsile, Simanyana, Shilongo, Gosegona Molapisi, Hendrick Moyo  

Orapa United: Mosimanegape Robert, Kealeboga Molebatsi, Lesenya Ramoraka, Kabo Mungabe, Olekantse Mambo, Mgcini Sibanda, Patrick Motsepe, Thabang Mosige, Sibanda, Lenyeletse, Chikomo


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