27 May 2018

Southern Africa: Madagascar Shock Mozambique in Cosafa Cup Opener

Photo: Shivambu/BackpagePix
Antonio Dayo Domingos of Mozambique challenged by Jean Baggio Rakotoharisoa of Madagascar during the 2018 COSAFA match.

Mozambique coach Abel Xavier watched his former club Liverpool lose in Saturday's UEFA Champions League final after two goalkeeping howlers and the next day saw a similar fate befall his side as they were beaten 2-1 by Madagascar in the opening game of this year's Cosafa Cup at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Sunday.

A mix-up between goalkeeper Guirrugo and his captain Jeitso, who collided into each other and let the ball slip, allowed Tokifandresena Andriamanjato to net the winner just after the hour mark.

It proved just rewards for the enterprise of the islanders, who took an early lead but then let Mozambique back into the game just after half time. A smart set of passes on the edge of the area ripped open the Mozambique defence and allowed Andriamirado Andrianarimanana to hammer home as early as the seventh minute as Madagascar quickly served notice of their potential.

They might have had a handy lead at the break had they taken all their chances but then switched off in the 51st minute as teenage substitute Kamo-Kamo delivered a low corner to the near post and the diminutive Luis Miquissone expertly steered it into the net.

Telinho then struck the crossbar for the Mambas but the Malagasy settled back down again to take the victory and make a perfect start to the competition.

The Comoros Islands marked their return to the competition for the first time in nine years with a 1-1 draw in the island derby against the Seychelles.

Mohamed M'changama's 60th minute goal, in the second game on Sunday's programme, had the Comoros ahead only for Leeroy Coralie to come on as a substitute and equalise with just seven minutes left.

Group B will get under way at the same venue on Monday as three-time winners Angola take on Botswana at the start of what should be a tightly-contested section. The match kicks-off at 17h00 (15h00 GMT).

Angola, who won the last of their trio of titles in 2004, have lofty ambitions in the tournament, which they also see as good practice for September's resumption of the African Nations Cup qualifiers.

Botswana were runners-up just two years ago but this year their ranking has dropped sufficiently for them to have to play in the opening round pool.

The later match on Monday sees Malawi play Mauritius, kicking off at 19h30 (17h30 GMT).

Malawi have underperformed in recent years while Mauritius have only won six of their previous 29 games in the competition.

Mauritius last year named 76-year-old French-based Brazilian Francisco Filho, who previously worked at Manchester United to be their coach and he is looking to improve their chances in the southern African championship.

- cosafa.com

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