An 82nd minute Motsholetsi Sikele goal gave Township Rollers a hard fought 1-0 win over Security Systems in a BTC Premiership match played at the UB Stadium on Tuesday night.
A fast paced first half was followed by a second half of more high octane football, with Rollers able to play a bit more with their feet but Systems also looking to create openings and proving dangerous in set pieces.
Systems deserve credit for working hard on the night, but Popa will also be pleased with getting the type of result champions are made of; the three points in the bag after a hard shift.
Rollers stay top of the log, moving to 23 points, and with second placed Orapa United drawing 1-1 with Black Forest on the night, the Blues are now two points clear at the summit but with a game in hand over Orapa.
Tumisang Orebonye was unavailable for selection owing to accumulated yellow cards. Kago Monyake who had suffered a minor injury also sat out the match.
Benjamin Sarkoh appeared in the team list for the first time in an official fixture, albeit starting from the bench.
Rollers head coach Thabo Motang utilised a 4-1-4-1 formation with a starting line up of Wagarre Dikago in goal; Thatayaone Ditlhokwe, Mosha Gaolaolwe, Simisani Mathumo and Motsholetsi Sikele in defence; Maano Ditshupo in the anchor role; Kamogelo Matsabu, Segolame Boy, Motshusi Cooper and Boyo Lechaena in midfield; and Joel Mogorosi deployed as the sole central striker.
In the 12th minute, Sikele powered into the Systems penalty area but saw his attempt at goal go straight into the hands of opposition goalkeeper Karabo Gaolebale.
From a corner kick, Systems had the ball in the back of the net, but the referee ruled the attempt out due to a handball.
A 20th minute pin point cross played into the 18 yard box by Ditlhokwe was nodded down by Matsabu into the hands of Gaolebale.
Systems striker Ronald Chikomo headed over the bar from close range after a free kick delivered into the box from range.
A Boy free kick played from the far right was beautifully delivered but saved off the line by Gaolebale.
A cagey first half ended goalless.
Dikago was called into action just three minutes into the second half, saving off the feet of the Systems attack from a set piece played in from the right corner.
Sikele forced Gaolebale into a save with a long range shot.
Systems’ Omphile Sebolai had two great free kicks go just over Dikago’s goal; the first tipping the crossbar before going over, the second going marginally over.
Benjamin Sarkoh was brought on for his Rollers debut as Lechaena was pulled off.
Gaolaolwe hit the near post with a low strike from outside the right side of the Systems 18 yard box.
Sebolai had another well taken free kick tipped over by Dikago.
Lemponye Tshireletso came on for Matsabu in Rollers’ second substitution.
Popa would eventually get their winner. Sarkoh struck a low shot into the Systems danger zone, and after Mogorosi’s attempt to flick in a tap in, collected and struck a low shot into the far post to make it 1-0 to Rollers.
Ivan Ntege came on for Cooper late on and Popa were able to hang on for the win.
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