Bad start for Matlama

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Moorosi Tsiane

MATLAMA coach Charles Manda says he believes that his charges can overturn their 0-2 deficit when they take on their Angolan rivals Petro de Luanda in the return leg of their CAF Champions League first round in the weekend of 22 to 23 August.

Tse Putsoa started their campaign on a back foot losing 0-2 at Setsoto Stadium on Sunday.

The visitors made their intentions clear from the start pressing Matlama early and that helped them settle.

It took them seven minutes to find an opener from a long-range strike by their attacker Manquxi Ribeiro Quibeto from outside the penalty area. The strike beat goalkeeper Monaheng Ramalefane on the far right.

The Angolan giants proved too hot to handle as Matlama struggled to deal with their pace and sharpness on the ball.

De Luanda’s Isaac Mensah scored his side’s second 20 minutes later.

From then, it became a one-sided affair as Matlama players struggled on and off the ball. As a result, Tse Putsoa failed to break the disciplined De Luanda defence for the first half.

Matlama came back a better side in the second stanza after tactical changes that saw Lehlomela Ramabele being introduced for Moteloa Khemisi and Jane Thabantšo switching from strike force to the flanks.

The home side created a few scoring chances but were not clinical enough.

Manda admitted that his side struggled especially in the first half.

“The opponents gave us problems especially on the wings from where they attacked and they got the goals,” Manda said.

“We corrected our mistakes during the recess, and we played better in the second half but unfortunately, we couldn’t convert the chances that we created.”

Manda, who was appointed Matlama coach last month, said the games also caught them off guard as they were expecting them to start in September.

“We had just over two weeks to prepare the team for the competition and that was not enough, especially because I am new at the team. We had hoped that the competition would start in September, but CAF made changes.”

He said they would go into the second leg with high hopes.

“We will be going there for results, so the players need to work. It is going to be tough being away from home.

“I am happy with the players that I have in the team and I believe they can still do the job,” Manda said.

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