Mbalakalungu can’t stop the Tafic tornado
In keeping with the wild winds that swirled through Francistown on Saturday, Tafic blew Mbalakalungu away with a storming second half performance to move a step closer to the Premier League.
Matjimenyenga’s 1-0 triumph, secured courtesy of a 53rd minute header from defender, Kemoneetswe Mmangwedi, ensures that their six-point cushion over second-placed Chadibe FC remains intact.
With just three games to go, barring a complete breakdown – and this is Tafic, anything is possible – the Reds will be playing in the elite division again next season.
Despite the narrow margin of victory, Tafic were worthy winners in a game where they restricted their opponents to just one shot on target – a long range effort easily saved by Thatayaone Thandazela.
Indeed, the closest the visitors came to scoring was when Tafic sub, Emmanuel Tshuma almost put the ball through his own net, the midfielder lucky to avoid an own-goal, slicing his attempted clearance inches wide of the post.
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Tshuma’s moment of madness aside, the home defence enjoyed a relatively comfortable afternoon, nullifying the Green Giants’ attack to record their 13th clean sheet of the campaign.
In 19 matches, Matjimenyenga have conceded just eight times – a complete reversal to last year’s woes, when only bottom club, Maun United Terrors shipped more goals.
In contrast, there was plenty of goalmouth action at the other end of the pitch.
Captain, Nengube Chakalisa nearly opened the scoring in the 28th minute, his low shot scrambled off the line after Mbalakalungu failed to deal with a delicious Goitseone Mpononang corner.
It was a warning the Kasane outfit did not heed.
With the fierce winds making free-flowing football difficult, a set-piece always looked the most likely route to goal for both sides, and so it proved.
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Having huffed and puffed for 53 minutes to no avail, Tafic’s pressure finally told when Mmangwedi muscled his way into space, showing great determination to get his head on Mpononang’s in-swinging corner. From close range, goalkeeper, Hendry July had no chance, the ball past him before he could blink.
Seeking the killer second goal, but missing the services of top scorer, Modise Modipe through injury, Coach Thatayaone Sonny brought on fan favourite, Montsi Dichaba.
The young winger made an immediate difference down the left, creating several chances for his teammates, who were denied by a combination of wayward finishing and the excellent July, the keeper pulling off three world class saves.
He saved his best for last, diving full length to tip Dichaba’s fierce drive round the post.
His heroics were not enough to deny Tafic, however; surely nothing can stop them now!
HOW THEY SAW IT
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“We knew it was gonna be a tough game, they are a good side who at one point topped the league.
But we made it easier for ourselves by closing down their wide players and nullifying their attacking intent.
We capitalized from a corner, which we’ve been working on in training so that was pleasing. Credit to their keeper as well, the young lad made three or four top saves!”
“Tafic vs Mbalakalungu is always a good game. We did our best; I thought we played pretty well although there were some instances when we could have done better.
It was disappointing to concede from a set-piece; one lapse in concentration cost as dear. The play-offs are now out of reach but we can still be happy with our debut season in the First Division – the aim at the start was to survive and we have achieved that!”