Monday, January 24, 2022

The Reds, Matebele reach Mascom Top 8 semis

Defending champions BDF XI and Gaborone United became the first sides to reach the semi-finals of the Mascom Top 8 at the weekend.

While the defending champions had to rely on the away goals rule to overcome stubborn Police XI at SSKB Stadium, the Reds had an easy passage to the semis when they thrashed struggling Satmos 7-1 on goal aggregate.

After winning the first leg 3-0 away in Selebi Phikwe on November 1, GU once again showed no remorse when they hammered their hapless visitors 4-1 at their fortress in Molepolole on Sunday.
Just like in the first leg, it did not take long for the Reds to stamp their authority on the game.

Right winger Mandla Mgadla, who returned recently from the suspension by the club, opened the floodgates in the sixth minute when he headed home into the empty net after a telling cross from the left.

Ntesang Simanyana who was getting a rare start ahead of rested Ronald Chikomo stretched the lead in the 14th minute.

Namibian striker Benson Shilongo also got into the act in the 40th minute when he tapped in from close after being fed by skipper Edwin Olerile.

Defender Thabiso Khunwane hammered the final nail on the stroke of halftime from the edge of the box.

At the break, the score was 4-0 and there was no coming back for the visitors. Veteran defender Mosimanegape Ramohibidu nodded home late in the second half to try save the face for the visitors but the damage had already been done.

“I felt for my boys at the break because they told me that they’re trying their best but the thing is whenever GU got a chance they scored. We tried to talk to them not to put their heads down hence they were much better in the second half. We cannot fault them, they gave their best but it was not meant to be. At the moment there is a lot happening in the club but we’re trying our best to sort out things,” said Satmos’ technical director Mooketsi Mading.┬á

Satmos coach Kgosietsile Jacob added that they gave their opponents so much space in the opening stanza hence they conceded so many goals. “We managed to string one or two passes in the second half which was good,” added Jacob.

Prior to kick off, Gaborone United coach Rahman Gumbo said he was worried that his players might be complacent considering that they were enjoying a comfortable lead from the first leg.
He was a relieved man he watched his troops read a riot act for their opponents. He pointed out that their plan was to kill the game in the first half and it worked accordingly.

The Zimbabwean tactician added that he was satisfied with the overall performance of his team but warned that it is going to be more difficult in the semis. “I know it’s going to be tough but we’ll be ready for any team which will come our way,” added Gumbo.

Meanwhile, defending champions BDF XI will have to up their performance if they are to retain the title.

Matebele were lucky to escape with a 1-1 draw against Police XI at the army barracks on Saturday afternoon.

Having played to a 2-2 draw in the first leg away in Molepolole on October 30, it meant that Matebele reach the semis on away goal rule.

It was BDF XI who scored first through Thato Ogopotse’s header in the first half before Katlego Masole equalized for Police XI with a brilliant free kick in the second half.

When he realized that time was running out in the second half, Police XI coach Maitumelo Letlaamoreng introduced his trumpcards Uyapo Seleka and Phenyo Molefe but it proved to be too little too  late for the cops.

“Our plan coming into the game was to score early but they frustrated us. When they scored first it meant that we had to chase the game,” said a disappointed Letlamoreng. BDF XI coach Elijah Chikwanda said he was happy with the performance of the team and feels that in order for his side to hold onto the cup, they need to rectify a few things.

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