TEYATEYANENG — Many factors can influence the outcome of a football match: the weather, an early goal or a lucky call, for instance.
Last Saturday Lioli had it all as they comfortably beat a hapless Lerotholi side 2-0 in Teyateyaneng.
On two counts the weather gods favoured Lioli.
First, the torrential downpour that had threatened on Saturday morning never quite materialised.
Instead Teyateyaneng was intermittently showered.
Second, those brief drizzles dampened the pitch, in the process quietening the usually racy dirt at Lioli’s ground.
With the field slower, Lioli quickly set about to press home the advantage they had forged with their 3-0 win over LDF last week.
From the kick-off they zipped the ball about with fervent purpose and just by the third minute that all important early goal had come.
The strike had a touch of luck about it.
With Lioli linkman Malebanye Ramoabi seemingly heading nowhere fast, the ball fortuitously squirted to Sello Muso who skilfully evaded a couple of feeble challenges to fire a left shot past Lerotholi keeper Tumelo Ntsoane from just outside the box.
The goal eliminated a sense of anxiety and of course sent the Lioli faithful crazy.
They didn’t have to wait long to celebrate again.
Twelve minutes later it was 2-0 after Ramoabi was fouled in the box.
Lerotholi complained that there had been an offside in the build-up but their appeals were in vain.
Up stepped captain Thabo Masualle to convert his third penalty of the season.
“Our plan was to counter attack, we didn’t want to play the ball in the midfield,” Lioli coach Mosholi Mokhothu said after the game.
“We just wanted to play it forward because we know their defence doesn’t position properly.”
Indeed for the opening 30 minutes Lerotholi looked like students learning the art of defending: they were at sixes and sevens.
Fortunately for them Lioli didn’t push for a further goal. The closest Lioli came to a goal in the second half was when Malebanye Ramoabi hit the post after the lively Teboho Nkabane was felled.
The outstanding Lehlohonolo Mpopo patrolled the other Lioli wing with his trickery making up for the lack of goalmouth action in the second half.
“We wanted to come here and play football and show that we can play football,” Lerotholi coach Khethollo Thoahlane said. “We wanted to possess the ball, but that early goal destroyed our game plan.”
Saturday: Lioli 2-0 Lerotholi, Butha-Buthe Roses 2-3 Majantja.