Likuena frustrate Malawi in Lilongwe
Lesotho scored a late equalizer to frustrate Malawi to a one-all draw in an international friendly match played at the Bingu National Stadium on Saturday afternoon in Lilongwe.
Likuena, as the Lesotho national team is affectionately known, have enjoyed a good run over Malawi in recent years having won the last encounters between the two countries at the COSAFA Cup in 2016 and 2022 respectively.
The home team, who dominated the first stanza of the game grabbed the lead through former Jomo Cosmos midfielder, Micium Mhone, in the 20th after Likuena failed to clear their lines at the back.
The Flames were the better side throughout the first half and made several attempts to increase their lead but were denied by the brilliant Sekhoane Moerane in goals for the visitors.
Both countries fielded strong teams made up of their local based players with Lesotho led by veteran defender, Basia Makepe while Malawi had the likes of Chiukepo Msowoya, who previously played his football in South Africa for Orlando Pirates.
The match headed to the half-time break with Malawi still enjoying their 1-0 lead.
Lesotho coach Veselin Jelusic reacted by making three changes in the second half adding fire power upfront with two attacking players and a defender.
The move worked wonders for the visitors as they won a penalty after defender, Miracle Gabeya handled the ball in the box from a Rethabile Mokokoane’s header.
Veteran forward Jane Thabantṧo stepped up to the challenge finding the back of the net from the spot to equalize for Lesotho. The match ended in a one-all stalemate.
Addressing journalists in a post-match interview, Jelusic stated that playing Malawi was a good test ahead of next month 2023 Africa Cup of Nations back-to-back matches with Zambia.
The result is not important for us. What is important is our preparations for the Afcon qualifier against Zambia,” Jelusic told the media.
“But Malawi team is strong team. They had more chances during the game but in the second half we were a better team. Overall, I am satisfied.”
Mario Marinica felt his team were the better side for the better part of the game and were unlucky to concede a penalty that gave the visitors a way back into the game.
“The match was good for us. For 60 minutes we played well after that we struggled, and this is what I was saying that the players lack match fitness. But overall, we should look at positive side.
“We created a lot of chances and scored. On their equalisers I don’t think that was a penalty. But well, such is life,” he said.