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|Lioli's Tšoanelo Koetle (left) goes head to head against LCS's|
Lioli have been crowned LNIG Top 8 champions for a second time thanks to a 1-0 win over LCS at Setsoto Stadium this afternoon.
In an evenly matched affair, Jeremea Kamela’s stunning free-kick late in the second half was the decider.
The triumph keeps hopes of a league and cup double alive for Lioli who also lead the Vodacom Premier League with five matches to go. Tse Nala also added to their success in the inaugural edition of the LNIG Top 8 in 2014 when they beat Linare in the final.
Lioli made one change to the side that beat LDF 5-0 in yesterday’s semi-final with winger Tumelo Khutlang coming into the team to replace Motlalepula Mofolo.
LCS also made one change from their 1-0 win over Bantu, but it was again Thabo Seakhoa who was Masheshena’s most energetic player. The winger was a lively outlet going forward but striker Thabang Rabi was well marshalled by Lioli’s rock-solid central defensive duo of Basia Makepe and Kopano Tseka.
Lioli didn’t have many clear chances either but, with the backing of their animated fans, Tse Nala often looked the likelier team to score.
Mpitsa Marai’s well-drilled LCS side made it difficult however, while the fluidity of the game wasn’t helped by frequent stoppages.
It was clear it would take a moment of magic to decide the game, and so it did. With just under 15 minutes left, Kamela thumped in a 25-yard free-kick that gave LCS goalkeeper Sam Ketsekile no chance.
Despite seven minutes added on at the end, Lioli held on to claim a well-deserved title.
In the earlier day, LDF claimed third spot with a 3-1 win over Bantu in the third-place playoff. The star of the show was Mojela Letsie whose two penalties were ultimately the difference between the teams.
Winners Lioli, unsurprisingly, swept the tournament’s individual awards.
Kamela was named the player of the tournament for his fine displays throughout the competition. The Lesotho international also won the goal of the tournament award for his strike in the final.
Lioli striker Nkoto Masoabi won the top scorer award while Kananelo Makhoane was the goalkeeper of the tournament. The coach of the tournament gong is the only award that won’t be going to Teyateyaneng, with LCS boss Marai claiming the honour.
LNIG Top 8 final starting XIs:
#LioliFC (4-3-3): Makhooane - Moremoholo, Sello, Makepe (c), Tseka - Koetle, Kamela, Moletsane - Lekhanya, Khutlang, Masoabi
#LCSFC (4-5-1): Ketsekile - Motsamai, Motiki Mohale, Poloko Mohale (c), Mojalefa - Nthonyana, Seakhoa, Ntaitsane, Rabi, Lieta - Mothae
LNIG Top 8 Awards
Player of the Tournament - Jeremea Kamela (Lioli)
Goalkeeper of the Tournament - Kananelo Makhoane (Lioli)
Golden Boot - Nkoto Masoabi (Lioli)
Goal of the Tournament - Jeremea Kamela (Lioli)
Coach of the Tournament - Mpitsa Marai (LCS)