MASERU — Cosafa Under-20 underdogs, Comoros, came close to causing an upset on the opening day of the tournament — holding host Lesotho to a two-all draw in a match played at Setsoto stadium on Tuesday evening.
The Island country twice took the lead much to the shock of the home supporters who came in big numbers.
Comoros drew first blood scoring the opening goal of the match through Athouman Alhadhur on the 51st minute of the game.
Makoanyane XI had started the match as the better side, dominating in every position and creating loads of scoring chances, but failed to punish the opponents.
However, it was Comoros who scored first. Makoanyane XI then equalised through skipper, Mafa Moremoholo via a well-taken free kick on the 75th minute.
The Lesotho team’s joy was momentary as Lesoetsa Morapeli’s own goal threatened to mute the ecstatic home fans.
As Comoros looked headed for a famous victory, the resilience of the hosts saw them claw their way back into the game and earn what could be a precious point in what is likely a hotly contested Group A.
Jane Thaba-Ntšo levelled matters for the home team with just three minutes of normal time left — heading in a well-taken free-kick by Teboho Lekhooa.
Makoanyane XI coach, Moses Maliehe, told a media briefing during the post match interviews that a draw is not a bad result though his team squandered lots of opportunities.
“We played very well and created loads of scoring chances, but it was just one of those days when luck was not on our side,” Maliehe said.
He said getting the goals has become a problem for his team.
“We do everything right but we continue to struggle with scoring.
The Lesotho youth team mentor said he was confident they will get it right soon.
He said they will comeback much more prepared for the clash against Kenya tomorrow.
“We know it is going to be a tough encounter, but we are ready for the task,” said Maliehe.
He said they will take one game at a time to fulfil the dream of winning the Cosafa trophy on home soil.
Comoros coach, Charkane Ali Francois, said he was delighted with the performance of his team.
Comoros are returning to the tournament since their last appearance in 2007.
“I am happy with how we played, we were playing a tough opponent and I think a draw is a fair result,” Francois said.
In the opening game of the day, Botswana defeated Swaziland 2-0 to take the early lead in Group D.
The match was scheduled to be played at 12:30 pm, but the travel woes that blighted Kenya and forced the postponement of their clash against Mauritius meant the fixture was moved to 3 pm.