Likuena hold Ethiopia

Likuena hold Ethiopia

MASERU – LIKUENA will return home satisfied after they held Ethiopia to a hard-fought goalless draw at the Bahir Dar Stadium in the first leg of a 2022 FIFA World Cup preliminary round tie yesterday.
The result gives Lesotho a slight advantage heading into Sunday’s second leg return at Setsoto Stadium and new Likuena head coach Thabo Senong will surely be pleased with his debut in charge.

All Likuena need now is to win the return game and they will qualify for the coveted group phase of the World Cup qualifiers.
Of course, Lesotho did not score an away goal in Ethiopia which will make the return tie that much trickier, but Likuena should be buoyed by their recent displays at home which include a 1-0 win over Tanzania last December and a thrilling 3-2 victory over South Africa last month.
The second leg will be an edgy affair.

Ethiopia showed their nous in the first leg as they enjoyed the majority of possession and pinned Lesotho back, especially in the first half.
For a good 15 minutes in the first half Likuena struggled to get out of their area. However, to their credit Senong’s charges remained well-organised and held firm despite Ethiopia’s dominance.
The hosts did manage to put the ball in the back of the net once but it was ruled out for offside and Likuena grew into the game managing several speculative shots at the goalkeeper.

Likuena’s defence still had to stay alert to put out fires for the majority of the game and goalkeeper Thabiso Lichaba was called into action with a great save to deny Ethiopia an opener from close range in the first half.
Just before half time Likuena nearly took the lead through an own goal but, unluckily, the ball hit the crossbar and went out for a corner.
The second half was similar to the first with the home team enjoying a massive portion of the ball possession but, again, Ethiopia could not trouble Likuena goalkeeper Lichaba.

Going forward Likuena lacked creativity from the middle of the park and things improved when Tshwarelo Bereng came on to replace Lehlohonolo Fothoane. Tšoanelo Koetle continued at rightback and was superb again for Likuena.
Senong started the game with four of his five South Africa-based players on the bench with only Motlomelo Mkhwanazi getting the nod to start.
Mkhwanazi, however, left the pitch on a stretcher and it is unknown how serious his injury is and whether or not he will be available on Sunday.

Sera, who scored on his debut for Bloemfontein Celtic against Mamelodi Sundowns last week, was on the bench together with Real Kings striker Nkoto Masoabi and the Black Leopards duo of Tumelo Khutlang and Bereng as Senong went for a solid line-up away from home.
Job done. Now for the second leg on Sunday at Setsoto.

Lesotho starting line-up:
Thabiso Lichaba, Tšoanelo Koetle, Rethabile Rasethuntša, Motlomelo Mkhwanazi (Nkau Lerotholi), Basia Makepe (c), Lisema Lebokollane, Hlompho Kalake, Tšepo Toloane, Tšepo Seturumane, Lehlohonolo Fothoane (Tshwarelo Bereng), Jane Thaba-Ntšo

Likano Mphuthi, Nkau Lerotholi, Rethabile Mokokoane, Tumelo Khutlang, Neo Mokhachane, Tshwarelo Bereng, Motebang Sera, Nkoto Masoabi

Ethiopia starting line-up:
Jemal Tasew, Ahemed Reshid, Aschalew Tamene, Yared Baye, Remedan Yesuf, Gatoch Panom, Shimeles Bekele, Biniam Belay, Mujib Kasim, Umed Ukuri, Amanuel Michale

Tlalane Phahla


Previous Senong appointed Likuena coach
Next Big blow for Bantu

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