Quote of the week

“To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If you're not, pretend you are.” – Muhammad Ali

Friday, February 19, 2016

LNIG Top 8 Preview: Only four will remain

Defending champions Bantu are well placed to advance
By the end of the weekend, four sides will be through to the semi-finals of the LNIG Top 8.

Tomorrow Sandawana host Lioli in the sides’ quarterfinal second leg while Bantu face Likila United. Then on Sunday, Likhopo play LCS and Matlama do battle with LDF.

Lioli will be looking to bounce back from last Sunday’s CAF Champions League disappointment when they meet Sandawana. Tse Nala head into the return leg holding a 4-1 lead from the first leg making them clear favourites to advance.

The match will also be played at the Maputsoe DiFA Stadium instead of Sandawana’s home in Butha-Buthe which would seem to eliminate any chance of a miracle comeback. Tomorrow’s game is the third time the teams will meet in under a month. Lioli also beat Sandawana 2-0 in the league three weeks ago.

Sandawana coach Bob Mafoso admitted it will be difficult to overturn the deficit they face.

“This is a knockout and there are no second chances. It will be difficult to come back from three goals against a team like Lioli,” Mafoso said.

In tomorrow’s other tie, reigning LNIG Top 8 champions Bantu host Likila with a comfortable cushion of their own having won 3-0 in the first leg. With the league title now out of A Matšo Matebele’s reach, their full focus will be on the LNIG Top 8. The match will be played at the Setsoto Stadium and not at Bantu’s Mafeteng home.

Sunday sees much closer affairs with LCS and LDF taking narrow 1-0 leads into their respective second legs against Likhopo and Matlama.

The two matches will be part of a double header at the LCS Stadium. In the first game, Likhopo will look to breach an LCS defence that has only conceded four goals in its last 11 games in all competitions. The weekend’s final second leg tie sees a clash of Lesotho’s two most successful teams, Matlama and LDF.
Matlama are seeking to end a trophy drought
However, both are experiencing trophy droughts. Matlama haven’t claimed silverware since their league win in 2010 while LDF are without a trophy since they won the now defunct Buddie Top 4 in 2008.

The tie is evenly poised and the winner’s reward will be a likely semi-final date with Lioli.

LNIG Top 8 quarterfinal second legs
Sandawana v Lioli (15:00, Maputsoe DiFA Stadium)
(Lioli lead 4-1)
Bantu v Likila United (15:00, Setsoto Stadium)
(Bantu lead 3-0)
Likhopo v LCS (14:00, LCS)
(LCS lead 1-0)
Matlama v LDF (16:00, LCS)
(LDF lead 1-0)

2016 LNIG Top 8 Schedule
Saturday 30th January  2016 (First Leg)
QF 1
LCS 1-0 Likhopo
QF 2
LDF 1-0 Matlama
Sunday 31st January 2016 (First Leg)
QF 3
Lioli 4-1 Sandawana
Setsoto Stadium
QF 4
Likila United 0-3 Bantu
Maputsoe DiFA Stadium
Saturday 20th February 2016 (Second Leg)
QF 3
Sandawana v Lioli
Maputsoe DiFA Stadium
QF 4
Bantu v Likila United
Setsoto Stadium
Sunday 21st February 2016 (Second Leg)
QF 1
Likhopo v LCS
QF 2
Matlama v LDF
Saturday 9th April 2016 (Semi-finals)
SF 1
Winner QF 3 v Winner QF 2
Setsoto Stadium
SF 2
Winner QF 4 v Winner QF 1
Setsoto Stadium
Sunday 10th April 2016 (Finals)
SF 2 Loser v SF 1 Loser
Setsoto Stadium
SF 1 Winner v SF 2 Winner
Setsoto Stadium

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