Likuena sal­vage draw

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Mikia Kalati

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.

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