Lioli seek to bounce back

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MASERU – Defending champions will this weekend seek to put their campaign back on track after two forgettable fixtures.
Lioli were trailing 3-0 in the now infamous match against Matlama before the game was abandoned due to crowd violence a fortnight ago.
And then last Saturday the Teyateyaneng side blew an opportunity to make amends when they were held to a goalless draw at home by Joy.
Lioli will be hard-pressed to bounce back to winning ways when they visit LCS at the Central Prison on Saturday.
“It will be a tough game,” Lioli assistant coach Halemakale Mahlaha told the Lesotho Times.
“We didn’t play well in our last two games against Matlama and Joy and for the sake of our supporters we have to win against LCS.”
The draw against Joy relegated Lioli to second place on the log, two points behind LDF.
On Saturday Lioli could be without the influential duo of attacker Sello ‘Muso and right-back Mohapi Ntobo who are on trial at an unnamed Botswana club.
Mahlaha admitted their absence would be a blow.
The Matlama game aside, Lioli still boast the best defensive record in the league having conceded just five times in their 15 games this season.
“We had expected something which didn’t happen,” Mahlaha said.
“We reverted to our normal system but when we fixed that we just found that we struggled to score.
“This week will be to fix the midfield and the frontline.”
Mahlaha said a loss on Saturday could damage Lioli’s ambitions to retain the Premier League title with LDF, Matlama, Bantu as well as LMPS and LCS all harbouring hopes of winning the championship.
“If you look at the race and the number of games left then you could say no it won’t damage our season,” he said.
“But if you look at the level of competition in the league this year then, yes, because you can’t afford any slip-ups.”
For LCS a loss would be disastrous.
LCS, on 27 points, are seven points off the top and a loss could possibly leave them 10 points off the pace.
And as such LCS coach Mafa Ramakau is expecting a close encounter.
“It is going to be a fiery match,” he said.
“I haven’t seen them (Lioli) play but they will come here to get all three points after their draw against Joy.
“We are still fighting for the title and we are going to attack from the start but it’s also important that we don’t find ourselves open at the back.
“Maybe sometimes Lioli have gone into their recent games overconfident but they won’t do that on Saturday.”
Weekend fixtures:
Saturday
LMPS vs LDF (Old Europa)
Joy vs Mphatlalatsane (Sebothoane)
Roma Rovers vs Majantja (Roma)
Nyenye Rovers vs Likhopo (Maputsoe)
Linare vs Butha-Buthe Roses (Hlotse)
Bantu vs Lerotholi Polytechnic (Mafeteng)
LCS vs Lioli (Central Prison)
Swallows vs Matlama (Mazenod)
Sunday
Linare vs Matlama (Hlotse)
Mphatlalatsane vs Likhopo (St Monicas)
Butha-Buthe Roses vs Lioli (Butha-Buthe)
Nyenye Rovers vs Lerotholi Polytechnic (Maputsoe)
Joy vs LDF (Sebothoane)
LCS vs Majantja (Central Prisons)
Swallows vs Bantu (Mazenod)
LMPS vs Roma Rovers (Old Europa)

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