MASERU – Lesotho secured a 2-1 win against Malawi in their opening game of the COSAFA Cup Group B match on Wednesday afternoon. The Lesotho senior national team Likuena goes into the second match of the tournament today against a wounded Mauritius at the King Zwelithini Stadium in Durban, South Africa. Likuena meet Mauritius relatively motivated by the 2-1 win over The Flames of Malawi, while Mauritius lost 3-0 to eSwatini – in a game also played on Wednesday.
Lesotho drew first blood, forcing an own goal from Sankhani Mkandawire who deflected a Katleho Makateng shot into his own net following goalkeeper Ernest Kakhobwe’s spill of a save after poor defending in the 14th minute of the game.
This was despite the Malawi team posing a threat to Likuena from the first whistle. Likuena, however, sat deep, closed spaces and defended solidly despite the Flames siege. The Malawian side could not find the back of the net though. Likuena’s lead fueled the Flames offensive, the Malawi team piled pressure on their Lesotho opponents in search of an equaliser but to no vail. The Flames’ striking force could not easily penetrate Likuena’ solid defensive throughout the first half. Likuena lost the ball time and again, and struggled and playing second balls proved even a tougher task.
The Lesotho team nearly conceded a goal in the dying minutes of the first half when goal-minder Sekhoane Moerane went out for a high ball which he could not handle properly. But his attempted save was worth it at the end of the day. Likuena defended with everything they had in the second half, with the Flames piling more pressure. But once again the Lesotho defense was resistant. Motlomelo Mkwanazi cleared an obvious goal from the goal line; the ball had beaten Moerane, before he was forced to make several close-range saves.
The Lesotho goalkeeper, apart from that, also made several saves from close and long range shots. As the pressure piled on the Lesotho team, Likuena coach Veselin Jelusic substituted Thabang Malane with Tšepo Toloane though they failed to make noticeable impact. But Likuena still had their moments which saw Motebang Sera firing blanks twice in the first and second half each. Makateng, Jane Thabantšo also got few runs towards the Flames’ goals. Likuena’s last match of the Group B will be against eSwatini this coming Sunday.