Bantu close in on Matlama, LCS
DEFENDING league champions Bantu eased to a comfortable 2-0 victory over Kick4Life at Setsoto Stadium yesterday to move within five points of leaders Matlama.
A Matšo Matebele grabbed the lead in the second minute with a composed Hlompho Kalake taping in a pass from Neo Mokhachane into the box.
The James Madidilane coached outfit continued to enjoy more possession and Litšepe Marabe came close to increasing the score-line on the 20th minute but Sele Thetsane, in goals for Kick4Life, was up to the task tipping the ball over the bar for a corner kick.
Marabe had another opportunity from the resulting corner kick, but his headed effort went wide.
Kick4Life struggled to get their act together after conceding the first goal and only managed their first shot at goal on the 30th minute from a free-kick.
Their best chance of the match came in the dying minutes of the first half after a mistake by Thabiso Lichaba but Tsietsi Khooa was at hand to save his goalkeeper as the match headed to the half-time break with Bantu still leading 1-0.
In the second half, Kick4Life reacted by introducing former Lioli midfielder Obakeng Modirwa for Paballo Mafeka.
Bantu also made a double change taking off Bokang Sello and Marabe and brought in their skipper Thapelo Mokhehle and Lazola Jokojokwane.
Kick4Life came back a better team in the second-half and were able to threaten the Bantu defence but could not find the equaliser.
However, against the run of play, Bantu who would increase their lead through substitute Jokojokwane, who capitalised on some poor defending by Kick4Life, releasing a powerful strike from outside the box.
Bantu had more opportunities to increase the score-line with Hlompho Kalake squandering a good opportunity to register a brace before he was taken off.
Kick4Life also had a few chances of their own with the likes of Khubetsoana Kamela, who came from the bench late in the match. However, Kick4Life struggled to find their way past the Bantu defence, which did not have much to do on the day.
A Matšo Matebele held on to win the match 2-0 and closed the gap between them and leaders Matlama to just five points. They also have a game in hand.
Madidilane was elated to walk away with maximum points after a disappointing 1-1 draw with Linare on Sunday.
“I’m just happy that we walked away with the three points because it’s what we wanted having dropped valuable points against Linare on the weekend,” Madidilane said.
“We needed the points to close the gap with the two teams ahead of us. I think we could have scored more but after scoring an early goal we dropped the level of concentration. But what matters is that we got the three points.”
For his part, Kick4Life coach Bob Mafoso said his side failed to recover from the early goal against the best team in the country.
“They started very well and the truth is that, whenever you play against Bantu you will be praying not to make mistakes early in the game because they will punish with the quality that they have.
“What I only regret is that we should have not allowed them to get a goal within the first 10 minutes. Unfortunately, they did and it helped them to settle quicker into the game.
“I think above everything, they beat us on the quality that they have. With respect to other teams, we do not play against such quality every day and I believe that we have a chance to bounce back and finish the season in a respectable position.
“We lost to two top teams in our last two matches and losing to Bantu does not make us a bad team,” Mafoso said.