SECOND half substitute Hlompho Kalake was the toast of Likuena, scoring a late winner in yesterday evening’s international friendly against Zimbabwe at Setsoto Stadium.
Zimbabwe looked more confident on the ball in the opening exchanges with forwards, Kuda Mahachi and Tendai Ndoro looking dangerous every time their team was on attack but the Lesotho defence remained resolute.
Likuena clawed their way back into the match and also dominated some parts of the first half looking dangerous in attack with the trio of Litšepe Marabe, debutant Luciano Matsoso and Tumelo Khutlang causing problems for the Zimbabwean defenders.
Goalkeeper, Edmore Sibanda pulled off a good save to deny Marabe while Likano Mphuthi also kept Likuena in the game with a good save from an effort by Macauley Bonne.
Both teams continued to attack each other, but there was nothing to show for it at the half time break as the match remained goalless.
The two coaches reacted by making a number of changes in the second half which saw Zimbabwe take off Ndoro and Evans Rusike who both failed to penetrate the new centre-back partnership of Nkau Lerotholi and Basia Makepe.
Likuena coach Maliehe also brought in attacking trio of Jane Thabantšo, Motebang Sera and Kalake.
The gamble paid for the Lesotho coach as against the run of play in the added time Kalake pounced on a ball played into the box by Matsoso to hand the home side the win over their bogey side.
Speaking with this publication in the post-match interview, an overjoyed Maliehe, said his charges were full value for their victory.
“I am very excited, we played well and won the match against a very strong team,” Maliehe said.
“We were solid throughout and played according to the plan.”
The Likuena mentor also praised a number of players that returned to the team after a long absence including Lerotholi and Makepe who started at the back.
“We played as a unit, worked as a team and in the end things worked out well for us.
“This result is a big boost to what we are trying to achieve with this team. All the players played well and I am also happy with the debutant (Poland-based) Matsoso,” Maliehe said.