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Sunday, October 1, 2023

COSAFA Cup: Moerane carries Lesotho to penalty kick semifinal victory over Malawi

Photo Credit: COSAFA Media

For only the second time on their 22nd participation at the COSAFA Cup, Lesotho will compete in the final after defeating Malawi 3-0 in a penalty kick shootout in Friday’s first semifinal match. Goalkeeper Sekhoane Moerane saved all three of Malawi’s penalty kick attempts and converted the winning penalty for The Crocodiles who held on for a 1-1 draw over ninety minutes. Lesotho will face the winner of the second match on Friday between Zambia and hosts South Africa.

Despite a 4-2 defeat to Angola to close out Group C play, Lesotho came out confident on Friday and surprised undefeated Malawi with the opening goal in the 18th minute. A switch of play to the right wing found Crocodiles star Neo Mokhachane who created space for an accurate low cross that left Jane Thabantso with a simple tap in at the far post.

Soon after The Flames of Malawi had their response when a hopeful long range shot was handled by Lesotho defender Motlomelo Mkwanazi, leading to a penalty kick that was well converted by Chawanangwa Kaonga for his second goal of the tournament. Just before halftime a disastrous outing was completed for Mkwanazi when he received a second yellow card leaving Lesotho down to ten players.

Malawi proceeded to dominate the second half but Moerane and his defense kept The Flames out of the goal to send the match to penalty kicks at the end of ninety minutes. Moerane became the clear Man of the Match by denying all three spot kicks from the Malawians, and after Sera Motebang and Thabantso converted for Lesotho the goalkeeper stepped up to slot in the winning kick himself.

Video highlights and the penalty shootout are below from COSAFA TV. The only other time Lesotho reached the final was in 2000 when they lost to Zimbabwe 6-0 on aggregate over two legs.

Lesotho 1-1 Malawi: Highlights

Penalty Kick Shootout