A never say die attitude paid off for the nine men of Super Eagles as they bounced back from 2-1 down to hammer the harmless Maluti FET College Football Club by 4-2 in the South African Football Association (Safa) Free State ABC Motsepe League encounter at the Phuthaditjhaba stadium on Saturday (27/02).
Senokoane Lepele scored a brace, with Buti Motaung and Katleho Nfalo registering their names on the score sheet to win it for the Bethlehem based Eagles. Dunica Masunya scored a second goal for the home team after their first goal came as an own goal by Masase Mahlaba.
The Eastern Free State derby never disappointed with goals, but it also left many supporters scratching their heads in shock, as it also produced three penalties and two red cards.
The two reds and two penalties went the Eagles’ way, while Maluti got one penalty.
It was the home outfit who opened the scoring account from the Eagles’ own goal, but the visitors responded with just five minutes in the second stanza from the boot of Lepele.
Soon after, the Eagles were awarded a penalty, but Thabo Setsumi failed to convert it, as it was saved by the keeper. Masunya coolly converted from a spot kick to give his side a 2-1 lead before Jappie Tshabalala was red-carded for retaliation.
However, Motaung, who came from the bench, equalised from a penalty mark to level matters 2-2, before Setsumi was sent for an early shower with a second bookable offence.
When everyone thought Maluti would win it, Eagles caught them twice on counter to make the score 4-2, thanks to the late goal from Lepele and Nfalo.
Eagles are sitting on position nine with 28 points in 19 league games, while Maluti are third from last on the lot table with 4 points after 20 games. They are a point away from Shamrock United, who are 15th.
Justice Rabakgoetsa, the Eagles mentor, said he was happy with the fighting spirit that his troops dished out in the second stanza.
“I think everyone in the stadium witnessed everything that happened on the field. However, I don’t want to talk about things which were beyond my control. We played very well and I am sure it was the beginning of good things to come,” he said.
Rabakgoetsa, who joined Eagles at the beginning of February, has lamented his team’s poor performance.
“We did not play well in the last four games, as we lost all of them. We are trying to use different players and one could say we won today because we played with a pool of players who were hungry,” he said.
Thabiso Mosia, the Maluti FET College coach, said it was heart-breaking to lose a game that they could have easily won.
“It is hard to believe. We made too many mistakes during the game,” he said.
He said the big problem has been scoring goals.
“We always fail to convert them. We will go back to the drawing board and try to rectify the mistakes,” he said.