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Likuena advance to COSAFA semis

by Lesotho Times
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Leemisa Thuseho

Likuena yesterday booked a spot in the semifinals of the ongoing COSAFA Cup despite losing 2-4 to Angola at Chatsworth Stadium in Durban, South Africa.

The national soccer team still finished top of Group C with six points despite the loss, while Angola were in second position with four points.

Mozambique ended the group-stage campaign in third position, also on four points, because of an inferior goal difference.

Mauritius, who lost to Mozambique 1-0 in yesterday’s other Group C match, ended their campaign with three points and exited the tournament alongside the Mozambicans.

Lesotho, who now take on Malawi in the semifinal tomorrow,  went into yesterday’s encounter after having already guaranteed a spot in the semifinals.

That was after Likuena started their campaign on a high note by beating Mauritius 2-0 in their first

game on Friday at King Zwelithini Stadium.

Coach Lesley Notśi’s charges then strengthened their grip at the top of Group C through a hard-

fought 1-0 win against Mozambique at the Princess Magogo Stadium on Monday night.

After those two matches, Lesotho had occupied top spot in group C, and held a three-

point gap over Mauritius, who were in second spot with three points, before yesterday’s

matches.

Having already advanced, Notśi played yesterday’s match with a different team and rested

most of the players who featured in the two previous games.

The changes saw Mosoeu Seahlolo, Ts’epo Toloane, Tumelo Makha, Hlomelang Lebina,

Rethabile Mokokoane, and Mohlomi Makhetha being handed first starts against Angola.

From the start, Likuena were quick to show their intentions as they scored the game’s

opening goal in the third minute. This was due to Makha’s early pressure and good

composure in front of goal as he slotted the ball into the back of the net.

However, Angola did not wait long for an equalizer as they scored in the 19th minute through a header by Cesar Cangue.

It was Angola again after 28 minutes with another goal from a superb volley.

Lesotho equalised three minutes before halftime as Rethabile Mokokoane smashed in a

shot from 35 yards to beat Angola goalkeeper Teodoro Tchissingui. The two

sides went to the half-time break deadlocked 2-2.

The seesaw contest continued after the break but Angola then scored two more goals to win the match 4-2.

Meanwhile, this is Lesotho’s first COSAFA semifinal since 2019. However, they failed to

progress to the finals after losing 2-1 to Botswana on 5 June 2019 in Durban.

They however, now face Malawi in tomorrow’s semifinal duel to be

played at 3pm at King Zwelithini Stadium.

The other semifinal will see hosts South Africa taking on Zambia at 6pm at the same

venue.

If Lesotho make it to the final, that will be their first final since 2000. That year, Likuena

lost 6-0 to Zimbabwe in the final. That was after Zimbabwe won 0-3 in the first leg at

Setsoto Stadium in Maseru on 13 August 2000, before winning the second leg with the same scoreline at Barbourfields Stadium on 27 August 2000.

Following yesterday’s loss, Notśi said his players had created a lot of chances which they

failed to convert, hence the defeat.

“We had chances but failed to convert while on the other hand, we conceded silly goals,” he

said.

“We gave a number of youngsters a chance and we believe the exposure will be helpful for

the team in future.”

He said the focus was now on the semifinal match against Malawi.

“We are turning our focus to the next game and we know it is going to be a totally different

game from our previous matches. However, we are ready.”

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