Lesotho hold Ethiopia to maintain impressive start under Jelusic
Lesotho held Ethiopia to a one-all draw in an international friendly match played at the Adama Science and Technology Stadium on Saturday as the two countries fine tunes their preparations for the upcoming TotalEnergies 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
Ethiopia started the match the better of the two teams dominating ball possession, but it was Likuena, as the Lesotho team is affectionately known, who drew first blood through Tumelo Makha in the 20th minute, after the home side failed to clear their lines from a free kick played into the box by Rethabile Mokokoane.
Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila F.C. (TTM) attacking midfielder showed composure inside the penalty box slotting the ball past Ethiopia goalkeeper-Fasil Gebremichael to give Lesotho the lead.
Ethiopia continued to boss the game but struggled to find their way past the Lesotho defence marshalled by experienced defender-Kopano Tseka, who was captaining his country in the absence of Basia Makepe.
The match headed to the half-time break with Lesotho still enjoying the 1-0 lead.
Both coaches reacted by making several changes in the second half with Lesotho’s Veselin Jelusic making four at a go to freshen his team that played Namibia in a warm-up match before flying out to East Africa.
The Walia Ibex finally found their way back into the match with the equalizing goal in the 60th minute as substitute Yiegezu Bogale pounced from close range to level matters.
The equalizing goal seemed to give the home team the momentum as they pilled more pressure on their opponents in the dying minutes of the game, but Lesotho goalkeeper, Sekhoane Moerane, was at his best between the sticks.
The 24-year-old goalkeeper made a number of outstanding saves to keep his team in the game as Lesotho remains unbeaten in the four games played under Jelusic.
The Serbian tactician admitted that Ethiopia was the better side throughout the match, but was happy with the performance of his team, who defeated Namibia 2-1 in another warm match a few days earlier.
“Yes, I’m satisfied with the outcome of the match. It’s a new experience for the new faces in the team and it was important for them to get this international experience,” Jelusic said.
“It is our goal to give them the exposure in these warm-up matches to prepare them for the future and help us in the progress of our team. They fought to the end.”