|Nkoto Masoabi (left) celebrates his winner against Madagascar with Hlompho Kalake...|
An early goal from Kick4Life striker Nkoto Masoabi handed Lesotho a 1-0 victory over Madagascar at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Friday evening and a first-ever bronze medal for Likuena at the COSAFA Cup.
Likuena had previously won silver at the COSAFA Cup when they lost the 2000 final to Zimbabwe but, apart from that, this is the team’s best showing at the regional showpiece.
For Madagascar it was a sixth fixture in 13 days and they battled to hit the heights of previous games in the tournament but did have chances to get something from the game.
Lesotho hit the front after an early period of pressure when Masoabi rifled the ball into the roof of the net from close-range after Madagascar hesitated in clearing the ball.
The first half in Polokwane saw few chances with the best for Madagascar falling to Rabeson Fetraniaina who got a clear sight of goal but put his low shot wide with Lesotho goalkeeper Likano Mphuthi at his mercy.
Jaotombo Bourahim was then presented with a shooting chance early in the second period, but his low effort was straight at the keeper, and he later fired wide when well-placed.
At the other end, Lesotho midfielder Hlompho Kalake flashed a vicious shot inches wide while Litšepe Marabe was denied by a good stop from Malagasy goalkeeper Jean Dieu Randrianasolo.
Likuena were able to close out the final minutes and ensure that they went through their three games at the 2018 COSAFA Cup without conceding a goal.
Earlier in the day hosts South Africa wrapped up the Plate final with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Botswana.
A sixth game in 12 days was always going to be a tough ask for the Zebras and so it proved as South Africa dominated the game.
South Africa hit the front after Botswana could only half-clear a corner and when the ball came back to Aubrey Modiba, his left-footed cross was perfect for Motjeka Madisha to steer his header past a stranded Masule on 39 minutes for his first international goal.
It was 2-0 to South Africa with 12 minutes remaining as a swift break saw Siphesihle Ndlovu rampage down the right-hand side having beaten the offside trap and his square-ball was easily tapped home by Modiba for his second goal in as many matches.
And the home side grabbed another late on as Lebohang Maboe raced clear and rounded the goalkeeper to score his third of the competition.
Saturday will see the completion of the tournament as Zambia take on Zimbabwe in the final for the fourth time in the last six COSAFA Cups.
Both the Warriors and Chipolopolo are chasing the R500 000 first prize while the runners-up will receive R250 000.
|Hlompho Kalake (right) was influential again for Lesotho...|
South Africa picked up R100 000 for winning the Plate competition which represents fifth place.
Friday’s COSAFA Cup Results:
South Africa (1) 3 (Motjeka Madisha 39’, Aubrey Modiba 78’, Lebohang Maboe 89’)
Botswana (0) 0
Cup Third Place Playoff:
Madagascar (0) 0
Lesotho (1) 1 (Masoabi Nkoto 10’)
Matches played: 22
Goals scored: 42
Biggest victory: Botswana 6-0 Mauritius (Group B, June 1)
Most goals in a game: 6 - Botswana 6-0 Mauritius (Group B, June 1)
5 goals – Onkabetse Makgantai (Botswana)
4 goals – Luis Miquissone (Mozambique)
3 goals – Kabelo Seakanyeng (Botswana), Lebohang Maboe (South Africa)
2 goals – Joatombo Bourahim (Madagascar), Jeitoso (Mozambique), Aubrey Modiba (South Africa)
1 goal – Kaporal (Angola), Mohamed M’changama (Comoros Islands), Andriamirado Andrianarimanana, Tokifandresena Andriamanjato (both Madagascar), Precious Sambani (Malawi), Damien Balisson (Mauritius), Leeroy Coralie, Eric Miellie, Elijah Tamboo (all Seychelles), Karabo Phiri, Thatayaone Kgamanyane, Tshepo Maikano, Gape Mohutsiwa (all Botswana), Motebang Sera, Masoabi Nkoto (both Lesotho), Evans Rusike (Zimbabwe), Motjeka Madisha, Siyanda Xulu (both South Africa), Deon Hotto (Namibia), Lazarous Kambole (Zambia)