Gerald Phiri of Malawi celebrates a goal with teammates
Monday May 27, 2019. 09:00
Absalom Iimbondi created one goal and scored another as Namibia claimed a potentially precious 2-1 victory over Mozambique in their 2019 COSAFA Cup Group B clash at the King Zwelithini Stadium on Sunday.
And Malawi defeated Seychelles 3-0 in the second match of the day in the pool to take the lead on goal-difference after the first round of matches, though it is still very early days. It was another day of quality football at the tournament with excellent goals and two fascinating contests that were watched by a number of scouts in the stands.
A goalless first half between Mozambique and Namibia gave no indication of the drama that was to come as the deadlock was finally broken with 20 minutes remaining.
Namibia went ‘route one’ and set Iimbondi free down the right-hand side. His low cross was easily turned home by Kamatuka, who had the simplest of tap-ins into an empty net. That goal had come against the run of play and Mozambique drew level with a superb free-kick from Witi.
The forward had only just come onto the pitch from the bench and with his first act, he crashed the ball into the back of the net from a 25-yard set-piece. At that stage the momentum appeared to be with The Mambas, but it took another piece of brilliance to restore the lead for Namibia.
Iimbondi had been lively all afternoon and when he picked up the ball 30-yards from goal, there looked real danger. But still there was nothing that Mozambique goalkeeper Guirrugo could do except watch the shot nestle into the corner of the net.
Mozambique pushed for an equaliser after that, but Namibia were able to hold on for the win.
Malawi cruised to a 3-0 victory over Seychelles and might have had more were it not for some fine stops from goalkeeper Ian Ah-Kong.
Gabadinho Mhango missed an open goal when a brilliant first touch left him with the simple task of putting the ball into the back of the net, but he put his shot wide of the post. He made up for that shortly afterwards though with a superb free kick that he rifled low into the corner of the net from the edge of the box.
Malawi continued to see most of the ball and doubled their advantage shortly after halftime as Mhango turned provider with a great run to the by-line, before a left-footed cross that is easily tapped home by Richard Mbulu.
The cherry on top came late on when Gerald Phiri Jnr picked up a loose ball in the box, controlled with his right foot and finished with his left.
The action will continue on Monday when Eswatini play their second Group A game against Comoros Islands at the same venue at 17h00 (15h00 GMT).
Eswatini were held to a 2-2 draw by Mauritius in their opener on Sunday, despite dominating the play, and will be eager to get a win in what is likely to be a tightly contested three-team pool following the withdrawal of Angola prior to the tournament.
Victory over Comoros would leave Eswatini in pole position and then relying on Mauritius not to better their result against the island opponents.
But a win for Comoros would see Kosta Papic’s side eliminated, and on an early bus back home.
Mozambique 1 (Witi 76’) Namibia 2 (Kamatuka 69’, Iimbondi 82’)
Malawi 3 (Mhango 9’, Mbulu 49’, Phiri Jnr 83’) Seychelles 0
Eswatini vs Comoros (KO 17h00, 15h00 GMT) – King Zwelithini Stadium
Group A P W D L GF GA Pts
Eswatini 1 0 1 0 2 2 1
Mauritius 1 0 1 0 2 2 1
Comoros 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Group B P W D L GF GA Pts
Malawi 1 1 0 0 3 0 3
Namibia 1 1 0 0 2 1 3
Mozambique 1 0 0 1 1 2 0
Seychelles 1 0 0 1 0 3 0
Matches Played: 3
Goals scored: 10
Biggest victory: Malawi 3 Seychelles 0 (Group B, May 26)
Most goals in a game: 4 – Eswatini 2 Mauritius 2 (Group A, May 25)
2 goals – Ashley Nazira (Mauritius)
1 – Felix Badenhorst (Eswatini), Absalom Iimbondi (Namibia), Joslin Kamatuka (Namibia), Siboniso Mamba (Eswatini), Richard Mbulu (Malawi), Gabadinho Mhango (Malawi), Gerald Phiri Jnr (Malawi), Witi (Mozambique)