Lesotho claimed a narrow 1-0 win over rivals Swaziland at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday evening to reach the semifinals of the 2018 Cosafa Cup.
Likuena’s Sera Motebang scored the only goal of the game in the second half, setting up a final-four meeting with either Zimbabwe or Botswana on Wednesday, June 6.
Lesotho’s first threat at goal arrived in the 22nd minute when Basia Makepe directed a glancing header toward goal from a corner kick, but the Swazi defence cleared the ball out of the danger zone.
Three minutes later Makepe latched onto a loose ball in midfield and struck a dipping, long-range volley which looked destined for the back of the net, only for Sihlangu goalkeeper Sandanezwe Mathabela to tip it over his crossbar.
Swaziland found their rhythm in the latter stages of the second half and began to dictate terms, though their only notable effort on goal – a shot from Tony Tsabedze which brushed the woodwork – came when the flag was raised for offside.
The teams cancelled each other out for much of the second half, with one of the only notable attacks in the first 20 minutes after the break featuring an effort from Swaziland’s Bongani Steenkamp which was deflected just off target.
In the 67th minute Likuena goalkeeper Likano Mphuthi dropped a straightforward cross and was lucky that both Steenkamp and Felix Badenhorst saw their goal-bound efforts blocked by retreating defenders.
Four minutes later Lesotho claimed a surprise lead, with substitute striker Sera Motebang running onto a great flick-on from a free kick before stabbing the ball beyond Mathabela to make it 1-0.
In the 75th minute Motebang almost added an assist to his impact on the game, as his cross from the left flank picked out Luciano Matsoso, but the playmaker’s effort rebounded off the near post.
The match ended 1-0 in favour of Lesotho, while Swaziland will move into the Plate competition and play their semifinal on Tuesday, June 5.
Lesotho (0) 1 (Motebang 71’)
Lesotho: Mphuthi, Tseka, Kalake, Moremoholo, Makepe, Thetsane (Sello 79’), Matsoso, Toloane, Marabe (Thabantso 64’), Nkoto (Motebang 65’), Khutlang
Swaziland: Mathabela, Tsabedze, Palma, Mkhonta, Nhleko (Nxumalo 65’), B. Dlamini, Ndlovu, Mamba, Steenkamp, Badenhorst (M. Dlamini 79’), Maseko