SA thrash Lesotho 4-0 to reach Cosafa semis
South Africa sealed their place in the semifinals of the 2019 Cosafa men’s Under-20 Championship with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Lesotho in their final Group B clash at the Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka on Tuesday.
Coach Helman Mkhalele’s side will now meet Madagascar in Thursday’s knockout stages‚ having drawn 1-1 with the islanders in the pool stages at the weekend.
South Africa top their group with seven points from their three matches‚ ahead of second-placed Madagascar on goal-difference. The Malagasy advance to the next stage as the best runners-up in the three pools‚ with hosts Zambia and Angola to meet in the other semi.
BidVest Wits forward Sinenjongo Mkiva netted his third goal of the tournament to set South Africa on their way‚ before Kaizer Chiefs’ Rahim Milazi added a second and skipper Lancaster Human of Wits blasted a third.
Chiefs youngster Keletso Sifama got a fourth early in the second period with a neat‚ low finish‚ but it was the final bit of scoring as South Africa missed a number of half-chances after that.
It was another strong display from Mkhalele’s side though‚ a completely new-look team who only gathered a week prior to the start of the tournament to train‚ but have quickly found their rhythm and cohesion.
They are seeking to repeat the country’s triumphs in the 2017 and 2018 editions of this tournament‚ and with most of the victorious players on those occasions having moved up to the Under-23s‚ there is a freshness about the Class of 2019.
South Africa took the lead on 20 minutes when Athenkosi Mcaba’s delightful through-ball was perfect for Mkiva‚ and he applied a cool finish past Lesotho goalkeeper Jessy Matsie.
And it was 2-0 just two minutes later as Milazi netted a fine solo effort. He skipped into the box‚ beat two defenders and again showed great composure to slip the ball into the back of the net.
They were two poised finishes that are often missed in the Premier Soccer League‚ where strikers have the tendency to try and blast the ball into the back of the net.
It was 3-0 before halftime as Human‚ so industrious in the midfield‚ showed he has some scoring boots too as he finished from an almost impossible angle close to the byline‚ though Matsie will feel he should have done better.
Sifama might have had a fourth before the break when a poor back-header put him on goal‚ but his low shot went just the wrong side of the post.
He was unlucky again shortly after halftime when he crashed a shot against the crossbar‚ but just a minute later did find the back of the net after a neat one-two and another composed finish.
Chiefs’ 16-year-old goalkeeper Bontle Molefe again started between the posts‚ but had little to do as Lesotho battled to create anything of substance.