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Saturday, December 2, 2023

Tumisang Orebonye’s clinical finishing leads Botswana to thrashing of Lesotho

In Saturday’s opening COSAFA Cup fixture, Botswana brushed aside feeble resistance from Lesotho as the Zebras scored a decisive 4-0 victory over Likuena to move into second place in Group A. The competition’s first hat trick arrived for Moroccan-based striker Tumisang Orebonye and now Botswana are back in the thick of the picture to qualify for the semifinals while Lesotho’s chances are looking slim following the result.

The early exchanges in the match made it appear that the result might be closer than what it ended up being, with both teams having an opportunity in the first 15 minutes. Botswana had the first look in the 6th minute when a clever pass over the top of the Lesotho defense found Mbatshi Elias but the forward put his finish over the top. Lesotho’s influential attacker Tumelo Khutlang then attempted an overhead kick when a cross was unconvincingly cleared by Zebras keeper Ezekiel Morake but Khutlang’s shot bounced off the crossbar and over the goal.

Lesotho’s unraveling started in the 28th minute when Botswana opened the scoring. A right wing cross from Thatayaone Kgamanyane found Elias towards the far post, who nodded the ball down to Orebonye. The Olympique Khouribga striker cut inside with an excellent first touch before lashing a precision strike into the top corner with Lesotho keeper Sekhoane Moerane left to pick the ball out of his net.

Botswana looked to be off and running when Lesotho began to cause their own problems. In first half stoppage time Elias stole the ball from some slack possession in the back from Likuena and surged into the box, juking around substitute keeper Likano Mphuthi before being tripped up for a penalty kick. Orebonye had no problem stepping up and sending Mphuthi the wrong way for his second goal.

The hero from Lesotho’s shock win over Zambia, Sera Motebang, came on at halftime but it was too little too late to save the Crocodiles from being on the wrong end of a decisive result. In the 69th minute a bouncing long ball was poorly dealt with by Mphuthi, whose clearance was blocked by an onrushing Orebonye for the striker to collect the rebound and put the ball into an empty net for his hat trick before leaving due to injury. A few minutes later another defensive giveaway from Lesotho led to Kgamanyane receiving a pass and turning by a defender before slotting low past Mphuthi and the thrashing was complete.

Highlights of the match are below.