Matlama take on Likhopo in a potentially thrilling Vodacom Premier League match set for LCS Ground on Saturday.
Both Maseru sides would be hoping to atone for last weekend’s LNIG Top8 heartbreak in which they were knocked out of the competition’s quarterfinals.
Matlama were beaten 1-0 by LDF in Sunday’s reverse fixture of the tournament, after losing the first leg by the same scoreline a fortnight ago. On the other hand, Likhopo were beaten 1-0 by LCS on Sunday after going down by the same scoreline in the first leg of the tournament two weeks ago.
However, Matlama coach Moses Maliehe says the LDF defeat was now water under the bridge and his charges had since shifted focus to the league championship.
Matlama go into Saturday’s tie third on the 14-team premiership table behind pacesetters Lioli and second-placed LCS.
But with Likhopo fourth on the table, and three points behind Tse Putsoa who have accumulated 33 points, the upcoming Maseru derby promises thrills galore and is a must-see for the fans.
“It was disappointing to lose that return match against LDF,” Maliehe said.
“We did everything right in that tie, but I guess it was simply not our day. We are back in training for the match against Likhopo which is another tough test for us.”
Maliehe insists Matlama are in with a good chance to win the league title, and cannot afford to lose points.
“The boys are fine and have put the Top8 disappointment behind them because it is important to do well in the league race,” said Maliehe.
“We need to show character against Likhopo and bounce back as soon as possible.”
However, Likhopo striker, Lehlomela Ramabele, says the match against Matlama presents the Red Army with a good opportunity to close the 10-point gap between them and log-leaders Lioli. Lioli are not in league action this weekend as they are in Burundi for a do-or-die African Champions League preliminary round, second leg match against Vital’Ô .
“Our focus is on what’s ahead of us, and not the past so it is important that we work hard to close the gap between us and Lioli and end the league campaign on a respectable position,” Ramabele said.
In other league matches set for Saturday, Kick4Life face Mphatlalatsane at home while Sundawana host Likila United in a Butha-Buthe derby.
On Sunday, Linare host LDF in Hlotse as Motlatsi Shale eyes his first victory since taking over at Tse Tala in January.
The Hlotse-based side played a goalless draw in their last league match against Rovers while the LDF camp is high on confidence after booking a place in the semi-finals of the LNIG Top 8 tournament last weekend at the expense of Matlama.
Bantu will be at home to Rovers in Mafeteng with Liphakoe hosting LMPS to wind up the weekend fixtures.