Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Rollers and ECCO share spoils to retain unbeaten league runs

Township Rollers and ECCO City Greens shared spoils at the Molepolole Sports Complex, both remaining undefeated at the Be Mobile League log summit.

Both teams have garnered 19 points from seven outings in the premier league but are separated by goal difference, which puts Rollers at the top. With the two teams in top form at the moment, the Sunday clash for the outright log leadership was always going to be an entertaining and tough encounter.

The match started on a high note with Rollers the livelier of the two. In as early as the third minute, Sekhana Koko skipped three ECCO defenders to lay a cross, which Rollers’ marksman Onalethata Tshekiso failed to reach. Popa, as Rollers is known, dominated the first few exchanges with Koko and Joel Mogorosi looking lively upfront and the midfield grafter Lawrence Majawa controlling the centre of the park.

Credit must, however, go to ECCO who showed character despite playing against the determined Rollers and the opposing south easterly wind. Despite Rollers having a slight edge and creating more chances in the first twenty minutes of the game, it was ECCO who took the lead in the 18th minute via a well taken Malepa Bolelang spot kick after Khomari Mothuba fouled ECCO’s lanky forward, Mandlaenkosi Sibanda inside the box.

The goal gave Rollers a jolt as it started attacking relentlessly but could not make count as they were either denied by the in form ECCO keeper and his resolute defence.

Popa, however, levelled matters in the 32nd minute through a well taken Mogorosi goal. The Rollers marksman hit a smashing one time volley after racing past the ECCO defence to meet an Edwin Olerile through ball. The goal seemed to give Popa a lease of life as they pressed forward but were let down by poor finishing.

Their pressure paid off with only two minutes before recess when Mogorosi beat off an off side trap to give Rollers the lead. Koko could have extended the lead in the last minute of the first half but his last minute shot went wide. The game went to recess with Rollers leading 2 -1.

Rollers should have extended their lead 7 minutes from recess when they were awarded a penalty after Tshekiso was fouled inside the box but the resultant spot kick, casually taken by Mogorosi, was saved by Madamombe in ECCO’s goal.

From then on, ECCO gained confidence and worked hard to level matters with Sibanda now coming into the party after a lacklustre first half. With the wind behind their backs, ECCO whipped balls over the midfield upfront where Sibanda was always left unchecked by the Rollers defence. The lanky forward tormented the Rollers defence and imposed his presence on the game.

ECCO finally levelled the matters in the 11th minute when they were awarded a penalty after Rollers’ defender Oscar Ncenga was adjudged to have handled inside the box.

Malepa sent his spot kick past Kabelo Dambe to level matters and earn his brace. From then on, it was an end to end affair but neither of the two sides could score the decisive goal and the game ended in a draw. Elsewhere, Centre Chiefs failed to bridge the gap between them and the league leaders after they were held to a goalless draw by BMC at Lobatse. Chiefs, under the mentorship of Rahman Gumbo, have so far given a yo-yo performance in the league and will have to dig hard to meet expectations of them being league title contenders.

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