Tempers flared and emotions ran high both on and off the field as Gaborone United succumbed to a 0 ÔÇô 2 loss at the hands of Mochudi Centre Chiefs.
While the game was played under tranquil circumstances, acrimony took over towards the end of the game as supporters at the Eastern stand started throwing missiles at each other. The acrimony spilled into the field of play as some GU players’ mobbed referee, Tshepo Gobagoba in protest against what they deemed to be biased officiating.
Despite the acrimonious end to the match, the game itself was a great display by both teams. Both sides launched promising attacks at each other, but their efforts were undone by wayward finishing and pedestrian displays in the final third, which resulted in neither side netting a goal in the first half. As a result, both keepers were not tested enough in the first half. Where the shots were on target, the attempts were feeble and thus easily smothered by the keepers. Both teams’ best chances in the first half came from set pieces, but neither side could make them count. GU’s chance was taken by Mpho Kgaswane, but he could only find the side netting, while Lemponye Tshireletso’s attempt from a set piece was easily dealt with by GU keeper Michael Pepukani.
The second half started on a much higher note as both teams went in search of goals, but still neither side could find the net. With a draw seemingly on the cards, things changed in the 82nd minute when referee Gobagoba adjudged defender Osei Bonsu to have elevated himself on the back of Chiefs’ striker Onalethata Tshekiso when the two went for a high ball inside the box. He then awarded Chiefs a penalty. The decision riled GU players whose vocal protests were futile as Tendai Nyumasi took the penalty and sent Pepukani the wrong way to give Chiefs a lead.
Temperatures went up a notch during referee’s added time as both teams’ supporters at the Eastern Stand of the Molepolole Sports Complex started throwing missiles at each other, prompting the security personnel to rush and restore peace.
In spite of the events off field, the on field game continued and Chiefs then extended their lead courtesy of Tshireletso. With GU going all out to find an equalizer, Chiefs caught them on a swift counter as Tshireletso found himself at the end of a through ball from the midfield. The winger did everything right, out running the GU defense and putting the ball past a hapless Pepukani to secure all three points o offer for Chiefs.
The drama did not end there as some emotional GU players had to be restrained by their teammates and team officials when they mobbed referee Gobagoba after the final whistle. Commenting on the game, GU stand-in coach Stephen Maposa expressed happiness at his team’s showing, but admitted that some work needs to be done with the team’s finishing. Maposa would however not be drawn into commenting on the acrimony that transpired in the game. On the other hand, Chiefs’ coach Mike Sithole was happy with his team’s showing as they won their second consecutive game. While happy with the acquisition of defenders who gave his team balance at the back, the Chiefs’ gaffer was still concerned with the lack of cover upfront where Tshekiso is the only recognized striker.
GU: Pepukani, Bonsu, Thabiso Khunwane, Obonwe Maome, Gosegonna Molapisi, Thato Ogopotse, Alphonse Modisaotsile, Benson Shilongo, Karabo Phiri, Mpho Kgaswane, Tshepo Maikano
Centre Chiefs: Mompoloki Sephekolo (Raphael Nthwane), Othusitse Pilane, Kaelo Kgaswane, Thato Kebue, Keabetswe Jenamiso, Arnold Mampori, Tshireletso, Lesego Galenamotlhale, Tshekiso, Nyumasi, Senatla Molefe (Lesego Molemogi)