Teams brace for last games of 2009

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MASERU — Lesotho’s topflight takes its final bow for 2009 this weekend with two full rounds of fixtures.
In the pick of Saturday’s matches, league leaders Lioli host Likhopo in a repeat of their Vodacom Soccer Spectacular quarterfinal clash in October.
Likhopo won that eventful clash 3-2 on aggregate but face a Lioli side unbeaten at home since a 0-2 defeat in January —  an impressive run of 12 matches. However, that record faces its sternest test yet against a Likhopo outfit that has won three of their five away matches this season, losing just once.
“We are going to play deep and try to catch them on the counter-attack. We are going to pack the midfield,” Likhopo coach, Mohau Mokhoromeng told the Lesotho Times.
“They are not the same tactics we used in the Vodacom Spectacular. Then (during the Spectacular), we tried to play more but because we are away from home, we are going to sit back. Lioli will be like a wounded tiger — attacking us from all over. And that is where we would want to take advantage and hit them on the counter,” Mokhoromeng added.
Mokhoromeng said the potentially explosive tie would have all the ingredients of a derby.
“Because of what happened during the Spectacular, this game will be like a derby. The fact that we knocked them out means every time Lioli play us, they would be out to prove that we are just kids,” Mokhoromeng said.
In Hlotse, on-fire Linare host second-placed LDF. Linare, in sixth place, are the Premiership’s in-form side, scoring 10 goals in their last three matches. That run comprises two wins and a draw.
“We don’t see it differently from any other game; our aim is always to collect maximum points,” Linare coach, Pitso Mosothoane said.
“Our approach against each team is always the same? that they are in the Premier League because they are good sides.”
After an inconsistent start to the season, Linare now lie fifth on the log after their recent good form — within three points of the summit.
“It is because of the belief by the players. But again, it also goes with luck; there have been matches this season where we didn’t deserve to lose. If you rewind, you will see how many chances we missed,” Mosothoane said.
Linare have been helped by the form of striker Leboneng Moqecho, who scored a hat-trick in a 6-1 drubbing of Lerotholi and twice on Sunday against Majantja in a 3-2 win. However, he is doubtful due to injury.
It is also a big weekend for Bantu — fresh from their stunning 4-0 win over LCS on Sunday. The Premiership rookies would want to continue their fine form against Nyenye Rovers on Saturday.
“I can’t say that it’s going to be easy; they would be out to prove a point, especially after our result against LCS. Again, they are struggling with their game, so they will do everything to get the win,” said Bantu coach, Bafokeng Mohapi.
Vodacom Soccer Spectacular champions Matlama have a tough task when they travel to Leribe to face two unpredictable foes. Tse Putsoa play the robust Mphatlalatsane in St Monicas on Saturday before clashing with Joy in Sebothoane on Sunday.

Weekend Fixtures:
Saturday
Lioli vs Likhopo (TY); Butha-Buthe Roses vs LMPS (Butha-Buthe); LCS vs Lerotholi Polytechnic (Central Prisons); Linare vs LDF (Hlotse); Swallows vs Rovers (Mazenod); Nyenye Rovers vs Bantu (Maputsoe); Mphatlalatsane vs Matlama (St Monicas); Joy vs Majantja (Sebothoane).
Sunday
Nyenye Rovers vs Majantja (Maputsoe); LCS vs LDF (Central Prisons); Joy vs Matlama (Sebothoane); Mphatlalatsane vs Lioli (St Monicas); Rovers vs Butha-Buthe Roses (Roma); Linare vs Likhopo (Hlotse); Swallows vs Lerotholi Polytechnic (Mazenod); LMPS vs Bantu (Old Europa).

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