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Orange FA Cup double header lives up to expectations

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BONGANI MALUNGA

The term Kgaa-Tshoo loosely translates to a knock-out blow, it is a common phrase which tells a classic tale of how knock-out cup competitions are unforgiving with no second chances granted and the fact that teams have to be at their best in order to survive.

It is a time when the form guide goes out of the window, a time when the clinical and the fortunate prevail. The Orange FA has produced thrills and spills this year and the sponsor’s decision to organize a double header proved successful as an unforgettable day of football ensured that spectators left the venue satisfied.

The Orange FA Cup semifinals were different from the usual cup semifinal fixture line up, with a double header at the National Stadium with the identity of the finalists of the competition revealed on the same day. Fans were treated to a double dose of entertaining cup action with Orapa United tussling against Police XI while Township Rollers pitted their wits against BDF XI. Both games produced a total of 7 goals on the day and a bit of drama as well.

Orapa clinches another cup final berth

Orapa United beat Police XI 4-1 (aet) in the first semifinal of the day. Police XI looked the more dangerous of the two teams with countless attacks in the opening exchanges, one of their forward forays was rewarded as the Orapa defence failed to clear a cross which resulted in an own goal for Mogomotsi Mpote’s side. Orapa snatched an equalizer on the stroke of half time as Mbatshi  Elias’s header levelled matters.

The game ended 1-1 in regulation time, Police XI felt they were denied a last minute penalty but their protests fell on deaf ears as the referee blew the full time whistle. Reminiscent of their 2016 cup final heroics against Rollers, Orapa turned the game on its head in extra time as they scored three goals in extra time to end Police XI’s cup run.

Second half substitute Onkemetse Powe caught the Police XI defence napping as he sneaked in and beat the offside trap to give Orapa the lead. Omaatla Kebatho then netted his sixth goal of the tournament against the run of play, the fourth and final blow was delivered by the tireless Lemogang Maswena who industrious display was deservedly rewarded with a goal.
Mpote lauded his team’s character in his post game comments, “My players deserve a lot of credit, we conceded the first goal but we never gave up, we never had our heads down. Police XI proved to be a tough opponent as they were relentlessly pressing us but we did not lose focus. In the end the players’ hard work paid off.” The 2019 Orange FA Cup final will be Orapa’s fourth domestic cup final in three years.

Rollers punish wasteful BDF XI

Rollers reached the final as they recorded a comprehensive 2-0 victory over BDF XI. Goals from the rejuvenated Ofentse Nato and a tap in from Joel Mogorosi were enough to eliminate a rather wasteful BDF XI.

Rollers are the only side left in the competition who are yet to concede a goal, their run of consecutive shut outs has been the their biggest strength this season. They have also been aided by the form of Nato who has been deployed as a centre half at times, another player who has been playing well has been Motsholetsi Sikele who has slotted in as an unorthodox right-back or wing-back in the team’s system. The roaming front line which allows Tumisang Orebonye, Lemponye Tshireletso and Joel Mogorosi to interchange also kept BDF XI guessing. Rollers will now focus their attention on trying to achieve a second successive league and cup double.

Stand-out player of the day

Mothusi Johnson (Orapa United): Undoubtedly the best player of the day, Johnson proved to be a thorn in Police XI’s flesh, he was constantly overlapping and whipping in crosses which troubled Sithole’s charges. He proved to be Orapa’s most productive attacking outlet as he produced the best end product with his runs and his delivery into the box.

Johnson was at the top of his game for large parts of the game and he gave as good as he got on the day. The left back was handed the Man of the Match award at the end of the game, this was his third accolade in four Orange FA Cup games.

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