20 February 2017

Botswana: Rollers Bow Out of Champions League

Gaborone — Township Rollers were on Saturday eliminated from the CAF Champions League on the away goal rule after their preliminary round tie with Madagascar champions CNaPS Sport ended with an aggregate 4-4 score line.

Goals from Lemponye Tshireletso, Edwin Moalosi and Segolame Boy gave the Blues a 3-2 triumph over CNaPS.

But with Popa having lost the away leg 2-1 a week earlier in Antananarivo meant that the tie ended 4-4 with CNaPS advancing due to having two away goals to Rollers' one.

Hailing from the Indian Ocean island state, where the turbulence of Cyclone Dineo had caused torrential storms across the Mozambique channel into mainland Southern Africa, CNaPs got to Gaborone with the intention to cause yet another turbulence.

The talk prior to the match was about national team goalkeeper Mwampule Masule being injured, with fellow Zebras goal minder Kabelo Dambe, who sat on the Rollers bench, also having been out for months due to injury.

Third choice Popa shot stopper Keeagile Kgosipula got the chance to be the Cinderella at the ball.

But it would turn out to be an afternoon to forget for the youngster.

Rollers had been dominating possession earlier on, CNaPS seemingly content to sit back and contain the hosts - until a forward foray in the 12th minute forced an error out of Kgosipula, who played in a ball that was on its way out.

Milison Niasexe gleefully accepted the gift played at his feel with the Rollers goal right in front of him, a simple tap in made it 1-0 to the visitors.

Rollers continued being the dominant side, play fluid passing game and occasionally getting balls into their opponents' box.

Edwin Moalosi came close with two gilt edged chances, with Lemponye Tshireletso also having his headed effort cleared off the line.

In the 30th minute, Rollers got the equalizer when a Tshireletso header met a ball floated in by Boy.

Popa pushed forward for a second, but had to be content with a 1-1 score line by the half time break.

Rollers got into the second half pushing men forward in search of the second goal that would even the tie at 3-3 aggregate.

It duly came in the 62nd minute, Edwin Moalosi slotting home a penalty to make it 2-1 to Rollers, after a CNaPS defender had handled the ball in the box.

But soon thereafter CNaPs struck again, Niasexe taking advantage of indecision in the Rollers backline to make it 2-2.

Boy gave Rollers a glimmer of hope with a well-taken third goal in the 68th minute, slotting home a well-weighed ball from just inside the CNaPs box.

Try as they may, Rollers could not get the fourth goal that could have won the game.

The CNaPS also went forward, the crafty Njiva Rakotoarimalala displaying silky skills whenever the visitors were in attack.

In their next assignment, Popa will have to pick up the pieces as they return to domestic competition with a Mascom Top 8 semifinal second leg, where they will seek to overturn Orapa United's first leg 2-0.

As for continental football, for now, Botswana's most decorated club will have to take a bow.

BOPA

Botswana

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