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Rollers narrowly escape GU noose

Gaborone United and Township Rollers had to settle for a share of the spoils after an exhilarating Gaborone derby ended in a 2-2 stalemate at the UB Stadium on December 3.

Thatayaone ‘Messi’ Kgamanyane struck with just a minute left on the clock to give GU a 2-1 lead, which nearly handed Rollers their first defeat of the season but Edwin Moalosi hit a stoppage time equaliser for Popa.

Two brilliant goals on either side of half time had set up that breathtaking end to the derby.

First, a stunning long range Moalosi piledriver had made it 1-0 to Rollers on the stroke of half time before Tumisang Orebonye’s sublime volley drew GU level eight minutes into the second half.

It seemed something out of the script of a Steven Spielberg Hollywood thriller, The Suspence, the emotional twists and turns, the potential late winner that only set the scene for a Chuck Norris-type hero to deliver the final blow.

It was a match full of characters from both sides. Despite being sloppy at times Moalosi headed the dramatis personae list with his first half stunner and late heroics.

GU goal minder Goitseone Phoko made some super saves that kept Rollers at bay and Orebonye underlined his attacking qualities on the day.

Prior to kickoff, the scene had already been set for a mouth watering clash in the latest instalment of Botswana football’s most historic rivalry.

GU was founded in 1967, entering a nascent Gaborone football scene that had Rollers and Notwane as the main protagonists, and the Reds became Rollers’ main rivals.

50 years later the Blues and the Reds trotted onto UB Stadium vying for pride and the three BTC Premiership points at stake.

While the match was played at good tempo from the onset, chances on either end were few and far between in a cagey first half.

It took a set piece from range for Phoko to be called into action; Lemponye Tshireletso’s free kick from yards outside the 18 yard box, Phoko responding by fisting the ball into the air before collecting.

The deadlock was broken in the 44th minute, Moalosi taking a few steps to advance before striking a low shot from yards outside the GU box, the ball going past Phoko to take the game to half time at 1-0 to Rollers.

Eight minutes after the interval, GU levelled matters with a beauty of a goal; a ball floated into the box from the left wing was met first time by Orebonye with a brilliant volley that made it 1-1 in the 53rd minute.

Inspired by the goal, GU now played the more enterprising football, and Kgamanyane forced Rollers goalkeeper Kabelo Dambe into a crucial save after a flowing GU move.

Rollers’ substitute Jerome Ramatlhakwana, who had come on for Motsholetsi Sikele, and Segolame Boy both had great chances from close range; Ramatlhakwana was denied by Phoko, Boy spurned his effort over the bar.

Then came the late drama; Kgamanyane scoring during a GU transition.

From defending a Rollers corner, the Reds pumped the ball forward, countering brilliantly to locate Kgamanyane who made it 2-1 to GU in the 89th minute.

The game then entered the three additional minutes indicated by the fourth official. 

GU supporters were in full voice and on the pitch their side displayed some party tricks on the ball- the old enemy had been put to the sword.

Or so it seemed. Cue party pooper Moalosi to rain in on the Reds parade with his injury time equaliser, then taking off his shirt to display his Rollers jersey to the crowd in a Lionel Messi type celebration.

A cursory glance at the log- Rollers top on 27 points, unbeaten after eight wins and three draws, having just preserved their unbeaten run by denying their traditional rivals victory with a last gasp goal - and the singing continued.

Under such circumstances, ignorance is pure bliss.

GU, who have been impressive of late, scoring eight goals in three league and cup games over the past week, can take heart from a brave derby day performance. 

They moved into third on 17 points, a single point adrift of second placed Jwaneng Galaxy, who are still on 18 points, nine less than Rollers but with a game in hand after their match against Gilport Lions was abandoned on Saturday (December 2). ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Pako Lebanna

Location : GABORONE

Event : BTC Premiership

Date : Dec 05 Tue,2017

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