Substitute, Tumo Kgosiedirang struck late to guide his side into promotion in a game played at the National Stadium on Saturday afternoon as Fighters won the two-legged encounter 1-0. The two teams had played to a 0-0 draw in the first leg last weekend at the Sam Sono Stadium.
Playing under overcast conditions, both sides started the game at a slow pace with neither side showing sense of urgency in the final third. The first chance came as late as the 25th minute as Morgan Gaseitsiwe beat his marker on the edge of the box but saw his shot rattling the bar for the visitors. The chance brought Nico’s attack back to life as the hosts resorted to stay at the back and tried to catch their opponents on the break. On the brink of half time, Thuso Keraetswe nearly capitalized from Nico’s failure to make a decisive clearance but his chance went straight into the goalkeeper’s hands. The chance brought down a curtain on a dreadful half.
Both sides came into the second half ooking to put the coaches’ instructions into practice, however they failed to break each other’s defenses. Half time substitute, Onkemetse Motsumi shot just over the bar as Fighters missed another opportunity from a set piece. Tackles flew as the game became physical in the second half but referee, Tirelo Mositwane kept his cards in the pockets.
In the 74th minute, skipper Derick Ramofi missed a glorious chance to put
the visitors upfront as free aheader inside the box went wide.
In the 80th minute, Fighters took the lead when Kgosiedirang beat the goalkeeper to the top corner with brilliantly taken free kick. Three minutes later, Kumbulani Madziba failed to double his side’s lead with only the goalkeeper to beat. With five minutes to time, Gaseitsiwe tried to give his side the all-important away goal but his free kick attempt went into the goalkeeper’s hands. The Samba Boys held onto the slim lead until the final whistle to return to elite league football.
“We knew they were going to play long balls. Our transition was not perfect. So I knew that if we stay long in this game we are going to get a chance and we did. I have been here many times before, now its time for celebrations. We will have to sit down and plan for the Premier League,” Fighters’ coach Thaloba ‘Machine’ Nthaga said after the game. Nico United coach, Peter Muchina was disappointed man and said it is back to the drawing board for his side.
Onneile Ditshito, Keleagetse Mogomotsi, Kabo Ngongorego, David Mathoni (Tumo Kgosiedirang), Samson Ramakoba, Othusegile Botsetswe, Gofaone Manyaapelo, Kagiso Mokaya, Thuso Keraetswe (Daniel Mogopi), Sipho Motaung (Onkemetse Motsumi), Kumulani Madziba
Keolopile Tshimologo, Thabo Watlala (Phetogo Lerato), Seabe Tlotleng, Fortune Tuelo, Derick Ramofi, Kgosietsile Mapena, Bokamoso Mosima, Kudakwashe Tsvavumo, Thabiso Mabachi, Morgan Gaseitsiwe
Kgosiedirang, Tuelo, Gaseitsiwe
Fighters 1 (Kgosiedirang 80th) Nico 0