It was yet another great day at the office for Teele Ntšonyana when his struggling bottom-of-the-log side – Swallows – shared spoils with defending league champions Bantu in a David vs Goliath clash at the Maputsoe DiFA Stadium on Sunday.
Although the Mafeteng side looked the better side creating a number of chances and winning most of the ball possession, it was their lack of conversion which cost them the would-be-certain victory. On the 4th minute of the first half, Bantu almost had a goal when Tšepang Sefali set-up Hlompho Kalake for a header which was however, swayed by the Swallows goal-minder Thabo Mokoena.
The home side kept on pressing Swallows for the most part of the first half but struggled in the final third with a number of missed chances.
Swallows goalkeeper Mokoena was the busier of the two sides with the Bantu trio of Mokone Marabe, Lehlohonolo Fothoane and Kalake not giving him a break. Another missed chance happened when a Kalake cross found Marabe who tapped the ball wide in the 8th minute.
Bantu’s exploits finally paid off in the 10th minute when midfielder Thabo Lesaoana found the head of Sefali who did not make a mistake but headed home.
The goal seemed to be the necessary oxygen to the game as thereafter Swallows come to the party and started making threats to the hosts, only to be halted by Bantu defence marshaled by Mkhwanazi Motlomelo for the most of the first half.
In the second half the hosts started with the same momentum they went to the break with but their visitors seemed to have improved on their game.
Lesaoana found Kalake in the 6th minute but the former was judged offside.
Four minutes, later a well-orchestrated string of one-two passes between Bokang Ntene, Khali Mohau and Tebalo Leshoella saw the latter make a conversion which left Thabiso Lichaba with no choice between the sticks.
Bantu tried to come back into the game by bringing in Neo Mokhachane for Setho Moshoeshoe, who had almost immediately made his presence felt when he set up Marabe for a header which went wide.
Swallows also made their own substitution bringing in Toka Mokhalinyane for Ntene, in a move which looked to have stabilized the midfield.
Mohau and Tšoanelo Koetle of Bantu received yellow cards after a commotion between the two players 10 minutes before the full time whistle.
Motlomelo was also penalized by referee Thabo Nkhahle with a yellow card after a reckless tackle on Tsibela who was goal bound with the game winding down to the 90th minute.
In post-match interviews, Swallows Assistant Coach Moqenehela Tsolo said their game plan involved allowing their opponents more possession in order to have them bring the attack then catch them on the counter attack.
“Our game plan was to allow Bantu to play from their half into ours, give them possession while we were going to play them on counter attack which clearly worked today.
“We were also aware that they were to attack us using the crosses into the box so we were ready for that. All-in-all from us the technical team the game went the way we planned it,” Tsolo said.
Meanwhile, for his part, Bantu coach Teboho Tšiu expressed his disappointment on failing to convert the chances they had created.
“We came into the game with a good plan but I am not happy with the number of chances we failed to convert and Swallows utilized and executed their game plan. The guys played well in the first half but the second half was a bit different and the moment they equalized we were not properly organized,” Tšiu said.
In other weekend results, Jane Thabantšo became the second player to score a hatrick after Tumelo Makha in the VPL to hand log leaders Matlama a 3-0 victory over Liphakoe at Ratjomose Ground on Sunday, while CCX shared spoils in a 1-all draw with Lijabatho at LAC in Leribe. On Saturday a sole goal by Kopano Tseka gave LCS the upper hand in the 1-nil edging of Linare at Maputsoe DiFA ground while Lioli defeated Manonyane by a goal to zero courtesy of Switbirth Kum in TY and Kick4Life managed a 3-2 win against Sefothafotha at LCS ground.