Likuena salvage draw
Likuena yesterday played to a goalless draw against Comoros in the preliminary round, first leg tie of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers played away in Moroni.
Both teams had good chances to break the deadlock in the first half, with Lesotho’s Tšoanelo Koetle coming close from a free-kick in the 30th minute, but his effort failed to find the target.
Thapelo Tale and Tšepo Seturumane were causing the Comoros defence all sorts of problems, but could also not find the back of the net.
Seephephe Matete’s charges had to play the last 12 minutes of the game with 10 players after goalkeeper Mohau Kuenane received a red-card and Sam ketsekile was brought in to play the last minutes in goals.
Matete had also made a number of changes to the team that played algeria last month, with the recalled Moitheri ntobo captaining the side and partnering Nkau Lerotholi in the heart of defence.
Other changes saw Tšoanelo koetle and Thapelo Mokhehle taking the other two positions in defence while upfront alongside Thapelo Tale, with Litšepe Marabe dropping to the bench.
After the match, Matete told the Lesotho Times the Comoros are a good side capable of beating any team, hence his pride in the share of the spoils.
“People should not underestimate the Comoros just because they are not a football powerhouse,” Matete said.
“They are improving and have a squad of quality players some of whom are playing at the highest level in France.”
The veteran coach said his side deserves credit for frustrating the islanders and not allowing them to score and have the muchneeded advantage going into the reverse fixture next week.
“Credit should go to our players who did very well, especially Lerotholi and ntobo who were rock-solid at the back,” said Matete.
“They were a closed book before we played them, but we now know them and they are a side we can beat.
“What I have realised is they had to change their game-plan during the match after they failed to break us in the first half. But we still managed to hold them although we completed the match one-man short.”
The Likuena mentor said he fancies his side’s chances heading into the second leg match scheduled for Setsoto stadium next Tuesday.
“We could have won it at the death as Seturumane had a great chance towards the end of the match,” Matete said.
“Our focus is on having a good plan for the home match because i think we have a good chance of beating them.
“Overall, i think we did very well and a draw was a massive boost to go for the kill on Tuesday.”
Regarding the red-card to Kuenane, Matete said his first-choice goalkeeper lacked confidence and did not have a good match yesterday.
“It was difficult playing those 12 minutes plus added time one-man short, but we managed to stand tall.”
Meanwhile, Likuena will also face Zimbabwe in the African Nations Championship (CHAN) first leg qualifier in Harare on October 18 with the second leg fixture set for Setsoto a week later.
Likuena defender Thapelo Mokhehle (in white) marshals a Comoros striker during the World Cup Qualifier played in Comoros yesterday.