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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Lesotho defeat Mauritius to set up duel with Eswatini for COSAFA Cup quarterfinal spot

Lesotho made it two wins in two games at the 2022 COSAFA Cup after their 2-1 victory over a young Mauritius side to maintain their position at the top of Group B. Tumelo Makha and Jane Thabantso provided the goals for the Crocodiles with Thabantso’s second half winner coming after Jacques Prosper leveled the match for Mauritius. With six points from two games, a draw or victory in their final group stage match against Eswatini on Sunday will confirm a spot in the quarterfinals for Lesotho while already eliminated Mauritius and Malawi will play simultaneously.

Mauritius showed plenty of progress compared to their 3-0 opening match defeat to Eswatini with the young team making it an even match for long stretches. However it took some time for the underdogs to gain confidence and Lesotho established control early, opening the scoring in the 10th minute. A cross from full back Motlomelo Mkwanazi found an open Lehlohonolo Matsau in the penalty area. Matsau scuffed his first time shot attempt but the ball rolled in front of the Mauritian goal where Makha reacted quickly to finish past goalkeeper Kevin Jean-Louis.

The Mauritian side came out rejuvenated following halftime and found an equalizer in the 50th minute. On the right side of the Lesotho penalty area, Mauritius full back Wilson Moutou cut onto his left foot and sent in a cross to find Prosper, who took the ball down smoothly before finishing from eight yards out past Lesotho keeper Sekhoane Moerane.

The second half was an even battle but it was Lesotho who managed to find the winner in the 72nd minute. A free kick was floated to the edge of the Mauritian penalty box and volleyed back across the area to find Thabantso. The veteran forward sent a quick shot that went between the legs of Jean-Louis before he could react. Both teams had chances in the closing minutes but Thabantso’s goal stood as the winner.

Highlights are below.