Township Rollers and Lesotho champions played to a 1-1 draw in their CAF Champions League preliminary round first leg match played at the Lobatse Sports Complex on Tuesday night.
After a first half where Rollers had most of the ball in midfield areas without going forward enough to trouble their opponents in the attacking third, the second half was brought to life by a better attacking rhythm from both sides.
Rollers got the lead in the 58th minute, before Litshepe Marabe equalised for the visitors just four minutes later.
Popa had more chances to get the winner with Joel Mogorosi, Tumisang Orebonye and Segolame Boy all came close but the Blues had to settle for the draw to take to the second leg in Lesotho next week Tuesday.
Rollers interim head coach Thabo Motang started with Wagarre Dikago in goal, a back four of Jackson Lesole, Simisani Mathumo, Mosha Gaolaolwe and Thatayaone Ditlhokwe; captain Maano Ditshupo anchor Ivan Ntege and playmaker Segolame Boy in midfield; as well as sole central striker Joel Mogorosi flanked by Lemponye Tshireletso and Motsholetsi Sikele in attack.
Rollers started the match typically knocking the ball well building from the back to the midfield areas, but with little action going into the final third.
Occasionally a variation of playing the long ball into attacking channels was used by Popa, but the link with attack to a while to be established.
Just after the half hour mark Tshireletso took a long shot from the edge of the Bantu 18 yard box but mishit his effort wide of goal.
Tsietsi Khooa came close for Bantu with a header that went just wide after he connected to a Lindokuhle Phungulwa header in the 37th minute.
Late on, Bantu goalkeeper Ntsane Lichaba punched a Rollers attack away but with Popa pressing the ball returned to the danger zone where Joel Mogorosi set up Motsholetsi Sikele whose low shot was saved on the line by Lichaba.
It stayed goalless at the break.
Rollers emerged from the half time recess playing more attacking football. Ditshupo came close with a diving header in the 55th minute, and a minute later, Mogorosi turned in the box but effort went wide.
Ditlhokwe gave the Blues the lead, converting from close range in the 58th, minute but this was soon cancelled out by Bantu who equalised four minutes later through Litshepe Marabe.
Mogorosi saw another effort go wide before Dikago saved an attempt by Mokone Marabe of Bantu.
Tumisang Orebonye was brought on for Sikele, and later on Kamogelo Matsabu replaced Lesole.
Orebonye had a blistering shot go over after Mogorosi had brought the ball down in the box.
Boy had a great chance to get the winner late on, controlling in the box then shooting, but Lichaba was able to parry the ball away for a corner kick.
Popa kept pushing forward but it ended at a goal apiece.
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