Township Rollers on Saturday morning played to a 1-1 draw with Tanzanian champions Simba in a pre-season international friendly match played at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Campus in Rustenburg.
During first half of high intensity football with few chances, Rollers missed a penalty, and in a more open second half the two sides scored one goal apiece.
Phenyo Serameng equalised with a stunning 70th minute shot eleven minutes after Simba had taken the lead through Medie Kagere.
The entire match was played at a high tempo, and this friendly against 2018-19 CAF Champions League quarterfinalists Simba will have been good preparation for Popa.
In the absence of six players who are with the national team, head coach Tomas Trucha made several changes to the line up that defeated Kaizer Chiefs a week before.
Against a physically well built Simba side full of pressing- chasing and closing down every ball- Rollers had to play at a high tempo.
After a good Rollers move, captain Maano Ditshupo advanced into the danger zone and unleashed a shot that went wide in the 14th minute.
Popa striker Kitso Mpuisang saw his shot cleared off the line after the half hour mark.
A minute later, Rollers were awarded a penalty after a handball in the penalty box by the Simba rearguard.
Mpuisang stepped up but his spot kick was saved by Simba goalkeeper Beno Kakolanya.
Simba then had a chance of their own in the 36th minute when Popa goalkeeper Wagarre Dikago tipped a long range strike over the bar, but the first half ended goalless.
Early in the second half, Rollers stepped uo the attack, and within the first ten minutes after the break left back Onkarabile “Lefty” Ratanang and winger Phenyo Serameng had shots go narrowly wide.
As the game opened up Simba had a first clear cut chance in the 56th minute when Rollers goalkeeper Kabelo Dambe, who came in for Dikago at half time, saved a close range shot from Simba striker Medie Kegere.
In the 59th minute, Simba opened the scoring, Kagere converting with a tap in after a low cross from the left wing.
Simba had tried all game to stretch Popa wide and play crosses into the box and it seemed to be finally bearing fruit from around the hour mark.
A 63rd minute Simba right wing cross located Kagere once more, but he could not control with just Dambe and the Rollers goal at his mercy.
After making a run from the wing, Motsholetsi Sikele shot just wide across goal.
Minutes later Simba goalkeeper came out of his line to bravely prevent shots from Sikele and then Mpuisang from going in.
In the 70th minute Rollers then equalised from a powerful Serameng shot went in to make it a goal apiece.
The Blues kept up the attack thereafter, but it would be Simba piling up the pressure in the last few minutes of the contest. The Rollers rearguard was up to the task as the match ended 1-1.
Source: Township Rollers Media