Battle of the titans

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. . . as Lioli and Matlama lock horns again

Mikia Kalati

FOOTBALL fans could not have asked for a bigger treat than a league match featuring the country’s biggest guns Lioli and Matlama who will this Sunday lock horns at Setsoto Stadium a fortnight after they clashed in the Independence Cup final at the same venue.

Vodacom Premier League (VPL) matches do not come any bigger than this and while Lioli drew first blood to lift their first silverware of the season two weeks ago, Tse Putsoa coach Moses Maliehe told the Lesotho Times he is certain it will be a completely different ball game come Sunday.

The country’s most decorated team in terms of league titles head into the match on the back of a morale-boosting 4-0 demolition of LCS last Sunday.

“The match will be a replay of sorts of the Independence Cup match in which they scored in the last minute,” Maliehe said.

“It was a game where we lost concentration towards the end, but we have a chance to make up for that. This time, I can safely say we have turned the corner having won three successive league matches.”

The Matlama mentor said he was happy his side had rediscovered the killer instinct, especially striker Motebang Sera who bagged a hat trick last weekend.

“The goal drought was affecting Sera’s confidence, but he will go into the big match with form on his side.”

For his part, Lioli mentor Halemakale Mahlaha, said while it would be tough, the coaches did not have to do much because the magnitude of the match was motivation enough on its own for both sets of players.

“It is going to be a tough match and both teams have quality players who would want to prove a point to each other, Mahlaha said.

“My players have not stopped talking about this game which should tell you just how much they are looking forward to it. That by itself makes life easier for us as the coaches because players are motivated.”

Mahlaha said the fact that Matlama were enjoying a good run of form in the league would make the fixture even more intriguing.

He attributed his side’s shock 1-2 loss to Rovers last weekend to a bad pitch and complacency on the part of his players soon after their cup heroics.

He however said they would be better prepared for the Saturday clash.

In the other matches slated for Saturday, VPL pacesetters Kick4life will be away to giant-killers Rovers who claimed the scalp of Lioli for their first win of the season last weekend, while LDF will host Liphakoe at Ratjomose Barracks.

On Sunday, struggling Linare will be at home to LMPS while Likhopo take on LCS at LCS Ground.

Highflying Sky Battalion will lock horns with second-placed Bantu while basement club Butha Buthe Warriors will host Sandawana in the Butha Buthe derby.

Weekend fixtures

Saturday

Rovers v Kick4Life

LDF v Liphakoe

Sunday

Lioli v Matlama

 

Linare v LMPS

Likhopo v LCS

SK v Bantu

BB Warriors v Sandawana

 

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