Thursday Jul 08, 2021. 18:27
Lesotho claimed their first ever outright victory over defending champions Zambia in the COSAFA Cup with a come-from-behind 2-1 success on Thursday that has thrown Group A wide open at the regional showpiece tournament in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Hosts South Africa grabbed a 1-0 victory over the 10 men of Eswatini to head the pool with a full haul of six points from their two games.
Zambia looked to be headed for the perfect start when striker Justin Shonga gave them the lead just before the half-hour mark, having earlier struck the woodwork.
Shonga netted after Gamphani Lungu’s shot had been blocked into his path by Lesotho goalkeeper Sekhoane Moerane.
It looked at that stage as though it may be a comfortable win for Chipolopolo, but to their credit Lesotho came out firing it the second half, showing their desperation for a win after a 3-1 loss to Eswatini in their opening game on Monday.
Motebang Sera equalised on 70 minutes after being fed by Tumelo Khutlang, and then two minutes from time he grabbed a winner after good work on the right wing by Tumelo Makha.
South Africa made it two wins from two in Group A when they edged Eswatini 1-0 in the later game. Eswatini were reduced to 10 men as talisman Felix Badenhorst picked up two yellow cards in the first half to put them on the back foot.
As with their 1-0 win over Botswana on Monday, chances were few and far between for the home side, but they made one of the count as Thabang Sibanyoni netted his first international goal with a neat finish just inside the box.
The action continues in Group B on Friday when west African guest nation Senegal will back on the pitch and hoping to make up for their opening game loss to Namibia.
Senegal showed they have plenty of skill in their squad and will hope for better against Mozambique (kick-off 15h00), who played to a 0-0 draw with Zimbabwe in their first game.
The earlier match will see Malawi take their bow in the competition as they play Zimbabwe in what is usually a fiery contest. That game starts at 12h00.
The top two teams in each of the groups advance to the semifinals, which will be played on July 16.
You can follow all the games live on www.cosafa.tv.
Zambia 1 (Shonga 29’) Lesotho 2 (Sera 70’, 88’)
South Africa 1 (Sibanyoni 59’) Eswatini 0
Malawi vs Zimbabwe (KO 12h00; 10h00 GMT)
Senegal vs Mozambique (KO 15h00; 13h00 GMT)