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Comoros find their way past Lesotho’s bunker in AFCON qualifying opener

Lesotho did excellently to keep the match scoreless at halftime but second half strikes from Youssouf M’Changama and Benjaloud Youssef lifted Comoros to a winning start in their opening Group H matchup in qualifying for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations. Friday’s result gives Les Coelacanthes three important points as they bid to beat out group rivals Ivory Coast and Zambia for a top-2 spot. Comoros will travel to Lusaka for a date with Zambia next match while Lesotho next host Ivory Coast in Johannesburg.

Lesotho did not show any signs of pulling off an upset but kept a firm defensive shape that Comoros struggled to break down in the first half. Winger Faïz Selemani teased the Basotho defenders with entertaining dribbling moves but forwards El Fardou Ben and Youssef struggled to find any opportunities as the visitors held out until halftime without conceding.

The match opened up more after halftime as Lesotho attempted to be a bit more adventurous but the warning signs were there from the hosts when Youssouf’s long distance strike went wide in the 49th minute. Ten minutes later Comoros finally found their breakthrough when Saïd Bakari drove inside from the right wing and laid a pass across the edge of the penalty area. M’Changama sprinted onto the pass and lashed a low first-time effort that sped past Lesotho goalkeeper Sekhoane Moerane to send the home crowd into jubilation.

From then on there was little doubt that Comoros would hold on for the victory but the Coelacanths found an insurance goal in the 81st minute. A long ball was nodded down and Youssef collected the ball thirty yards from goal before speeding past a defender and unleashing a scorching effort past Moerane into the roof of the net.

Highlights of the match are below.

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