Gaborone — A BTC Premiership match between Orange FA Cup winners, Orapa United and defending league champions, Township Rollers produced fireworks on Saturday night at the National Stadium with Rollers emerging 3-1 winners in a game of two halves.
Mogomotsi 'Teenage' Mpote's Orapa side completely outplayed Rollers in the first half and will rue the opportunities they missed to build onto the early lead they had taken through Onkabetse Makgantai.
Tomas Trucha's Rollers outfit were rejuvenated in the second half and got three goals in that period from Maano Ditshupo, Ofentse Nato and Motsholetsi Sikele to earn the comeback victory.
The Ostriches, who have proved to be the nemesis of Popa in recent seasons, looked to be heading for yet another victory over their hosts as Makgantai gave them a fifth minute lead. Kaone van der Westhuizen produced what tennis aficionados would call an 'unforced error,' losing control of the ball and ceding possession to Mbatshi Elias of Orapa who whipped in a cross met by Makgantai who slotted home with Rollers goalkeeper Kabelo Dambe still trying to recover ground having been out of position when his teammate lost possession.
Buoyed by the early goal and clearly having a game plan to starve Rollers of the ball, Orapa were dominant in the first period, Gofaone Mabaya, Omaatla Kebatho, as well as Makgantai and Elias all proving a handful for Popa. Rollers first had a sight on goal after nearly half an hour of the action, Simisani Mathumo shooting wide after a Sikele free kick was blocked back into play by Orapa goalkeeper Lesenya Malapela.
With the match going into the half time break with Orapa leading by the single goal and having had control of the midfield, Rollers introduced Mothusi Cooper for Kago Monyake, as well as Edwin Moalosi for Kitso Mpusisang.
That gave the Blues better attacking shape as they stepped up their attacking play, culminating in Ditshupo equalising in the 68th minute, scoring from close range after Rollers set piece play.
Orapa tried to counter the Rollers resurgence by bringing in mercurial winger Onkemetse Powe for Elias, as well as Allen Ndondole for Lawrence Ndunga midfield.
At 1-1 the two teams went for broke, throwing everything into attack, and as the game opened up, gaps were likely to be exposed on either end.
It would be Rollers who would take advantage, with just four minutes left, Nato struck from close range, and in injury time, Sikele gave gloss to the score line, converting a right wing cross played in by Kamogelo Matsabu to confirm Rollers' 3-1 win.
As the premier league gathers pace, Rollers next face Molepolole City at the Jamali Stadium in Tlokweng on Tuesday, while Orapa will be home to Gilport Lions on Wednesday night at Itekeng.
<i>Source : BOPA</i>