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Rough diamonds

Orapa and Galaxy clash again after fractious first-leg

Having come to blows in a bad-tempered first leg two weeks ago, diamond brothers Orapa United and Jwaneng Galaxy go to war again this Saturday.

With a place in the Mascom Top8 final up for grabs, and the tie evenly poised at 1-1, tensions are expected to rise once again.

An absorbing opening encounter descended into chaos midway through the second half when a mass on-field brawl broke out between the two teams.

Although it is not clear what sparked the scrap – with neither manager wanting to talk about it after the game – it appears Galaxy players took exception at ‘an item’ left in the Orapa goal.

The unseemly scuffle overshadowed what had been a high quality affair, which Galaxy briefly led courtesy of a 19th minute strike from Lesenya Malepela.

Orapa hit back five minutes later, Lawrence Ndunga finding the back of the net to send the Ostriches travelling supporters home happy.

They will now look to finish the job at Itekeng Stadium. Having beaten Galaxy 2-0 at the same venue in the league back in December, the boys from Boteti know exactly what it takes to beat their Jwaneng-based siblings.

However, the teams go into Saturday’s clash on the back of mixed results.

Orapa fell to a surprise 2-0 defeat at home to Gaborone United whilst Galaxy thrashed BR Highlanders 4-0 to replace their diamond brothers at the top of the league.

Speaking to Voice Sport, Galaxy’s charismatic captain, Thabo Leinanyane said reaching a third Top8 final is one of their priorities for the season.

“Our aim is to reach the finals and we are not going to allow Orapa to deny us that opportunity. We are going all the way to Itekeng for a win,” declared the no-nonsense right back, whose side are looking to become the first team to defend their title in the lucrative competition’s nine-year history.

Paying homage to his opponents, the 26-year-old added, “Orapa are a very strong side, especially when they are home as their pitch is small. But we are not going to give them space to play as they can be lethal at times.

“In addition, the boys morale is high because we coming into the game on the back of a great win. But we will put that to the back of our minds because we now in a cup competition and we have to win it.”

Leinanyane’s opposite number, centerback Thabang Mosige told Voice Sport confidence amongst the squad was high.

“We are more than ready for Galaxy as we have been hard at work. The mood in camp is also impressive. Furthermore, we are not going to play a defensive approach which we adopted when we went to Jwaneng. We are going to attack them until the final because we want to be in that final as well.”

Quizzed on the side’s shock loss to GU and the impact it might have, Mosige responded immediately, “For now our focus is to win against Galaxy this weekend in cup competition, and GU loss is now in the past. We plan to beat Galaxy and go through to the finals.”

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