Zimbabwe 2-1 Lesotho
TENDAI Ndoro scored twice as Zimbabwe recovered from the shock of falling behind to beat Lesotho 2-1 in the semi-finals of the Cosafa Senior Challenge in Ndola, Zambia, on Wednesday.
Mofolo Motlalepula gave Zimbabwe a real scare with the opener after just three minutes.
But Chicken Inn striker Ndoro, the hot favourite to win the Premier League golden boot, scored twice in a 10-minute spell before the half-hour mark as Zimbabwe fought back.
In the final, Zimbabwe will play hosts Zambia who beat South Africa 5-3 on penalties in the other semi-final match.
What seemed a routine attack down the right channel resulted in a low ball being swung in and with neither Felix Chindungwe nor Prosper Matizanadzo picking him, Motlalepula had enough space to tap the ball home.
But Ndoro brought Zimbabwe level in the 14th minute when he received a pass from right back Eric Chipeta inside the box, turned his man and fired a powerful angled shot that squeezed its way between Lesotho goalkeeper Phasumane Kholoue and his near post.
Ndoro, later voted the Man of the Match – then fired what proved the winner in the 24th minute.
In typical predatory fashion, Ndoro got to the end of another Chipeta delivery from the right and made no mistake with his right foot.
Ndoro, who was a handful for the Crocodiles centre back partnership of skipper Moitheri Ntobo and Masualle Thabo with his power play, could have sealed a memorable hat-trick but he wasted three more good chances either side of the break.
Warriors coach Klaus Dieter Pagels made just one change to the side which started the quarter-final showdown against Malawi with Matizanadzo coming in for the injured Hardlife Zvirekwi.
This forced Pagels to switch Chipeta to the right side of defence while Matizanadzo partnered Chindungwe in the centre.
Chipeta was saved from some blushes in the 30th minute when his miscued clearance fell onto the path of Moletsane Bushy but goalkeeper Maxwell Nyamupanedengu rushed out of his line to block the effort.
Nyamupanedengu then almost turned what seemed a harmless looking ball into his own net in the second period as Lesotho fought hard to try and find an equaliser.
Pagels, just like his assistant Lloyd Mutasa on Tuesday, questioned the coaching methods at the Premier League clubs and reckoned that the players he brought with him here are not in the best of condition physically.Advertisement
“My selection is based on two players per club and nowhere in the world do you see a national team that has such limits on selection. Our clubs in Zimbabwe also need to improve on their training methods so that our players can compete better in such tournaments,” Pagels said.
“I’m also not happy with the performance. We played very badly especially in defence but what can you do when your selection is limited?
“We have very good defenders at Dynamos but I cannot use them because I had already picked two other players (Ocean Mushure and Chafa).”
The coach was also not amused by the performances of the midfield pair of captain Masimba Mambare and Chafa whom he said often strayed away from their defensive duties.
“Masimba and Devon wanted to both attack at the same time and they were abandoning their defensive duties.
“Now we just have to continue to try and improve every time but being in the final is an achievement because there are some teams which are in better shape in this competition. Teams like Namibia, Zambia and South Africa are in good condition and we could be in trouble in the final and winning the cup will not be easy but we will try.”
In the other semi-final, South Africa and Zambia drew 0-0 and needed a penalty shoot-out to seperate them. The Zambians won 5-3.
Zimbabwe: M. Nyamupanedengu, E. Chipeta, O. Mushure, P. Matizanadzo, F. Chindungwe, D. Chafa, R. Chitiyo (L. Chibwiro 71st minute), M. Mambare, T. Ndoro, C. Sibanda, S. Songani (N. Alifandika 58th minute).
Lesotho: P. Kholuoe, M. Ralekoti, M. Motlalepula (K. Tsoanelo 48th minute) , M. Ntobo, T. Thapelo, K. Moleko, M. Thabo, M. Bushy (P. Mabuti 74th minute), L. Marabe ( L. Ramabale 38th minute) J. Kamela, N. Lerotholi
(Additional reporting Herald)