4 December 2013

Southern Africa: Thrilling Opening Day of Regional U20s

press release

Hosts Lesotho twice came from behind to force a 2-2 draw with Comoros, while Botswana defeated Swaziland 2-0 on a thrilling opening day of the 2013 COSAFA Youth Championships in Maseru on Tuesday.

The third match scheduled for the opening day between Kenya and Mauritius was postponed due to travel issues suffered by the East African guests.

But the two games that were played offered excellent entertainment for the fans at the Setsoto Stadium.

Comoros looked as though they were headed for a famous victory, but the resilience of the hosts saw them claw their way back into the game and earn what could be a precious point in what is likely to be a hotly contested Group A.

After a goalless first half in which Lesotho came closest with a shot that was cleared off the line, Comoros stunned their hosts with the opener through Athouman Alhadhur.

Lesotho equalised via Mafa Moremoholo, who blasted an excellent free-kick through the wall, much to the delight of the vociferous home crowd.

That joy was short-lived though as Comoros found their way back into the lead, Lesoetsa Morapeli turning the ball into his own net.

But credit to the home side, they kept on fighting and with five minutes remaining found a second equaliser as Thabo Ntso headed home.

There was late drama when Lesotho's Sello Bokang was handed a deserved red card for a horrific tackle.

In the opening game of the day, Botswana defeated Swaziland 2-0 to take the early lead in Group D.

The match was scheduled to be played at 12h30, but the travel woes that blighted Kenya and forced the postponement of their clash against Mauritius meant the fixture was moved to 15h00.

Swaziland made arguably the brighter start, but it was Botswana who came closest to opening on 18 minutes when Mpho Kgaswane crashed his shot against the post and Swaziland goalkeeper Ayanda Kunene was able to gather the rebound.

But the Young Zebras were ahead three minutes later when Kgaswane's pass set Unobatsha Mbaiwa clear of the defence and he finished with aplomb.

Swaziland thought they should have had a penalty when Mlamuli Nkambule's goal-bound shot appeared to strike the arm of a defender, but referee Rakotojaona Andofetra from Madagascar waved play-on.

Botswana goalkeeper Keagile Kgosipula produced a stunning save to deny Sandile Gamedze as Swaziland pressed for an equaliser, but it was Botswana who got the second goal.

Thatayaone Ramatlapeng blasted home a free-kick in injury-time at the end of the game to seal the points for the Young Zebras.

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