By: Lilemo Matlotlo
Lesotho National Team (Likuena) has suffered a great humiliation of 4-2 defeat in the hands of Nigeria (Super Eagles), on 2021 African Cup of Nations qualifying game at Maseru, Setsoto Stadium last Sunday.
Likuena came to this game with a point in Group L of AFCON 2021 Qualifiers after they played 1-1 draw with Sierra Leon in their opening away game, a week before taking on Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Super Eagles surfaced at the top of the group L following 2-1 home triumph to Benin and secured three points.
In today’s clash, the home side took a game with a storm in 10 minutes of the opening half as Tshwarelo Bereng was often releasing Bokang Sello, who made a number of dangerous crosses into Nigeria’s box but no one was in place to score.
However, in 11th minute Sello finally found Nkoto Masoabi with a world-class cross; Masoabi headed it in, giving Likuena an early lead.
Thereafter, the Super Eagles took a game from Likuena with dominance in ball possession.
Nigeria came close to the equalizer in 18th minute, as Samuel Chukwueze laid the ball back from the spot kick to Ekong, who took a powerful shot but Lesotho’s shot stopper, Ntsane Lichaba split it away.
Gernot Rohr charges finally found a breakthrough in 27th minutes, as Victor Osihem came from behind to sneak the ball from Motlomelo Mkwanazi and passed it to Alex Iwobi who placed it to the far post and made it 1-1.
Later on, Super Eagles got a lead after Chukwueze headed it in when Osihem released him one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
Nigeria kept on pressing Lesotho in their half in the early minutes of the second stanza. As a result, Osihem tapped it in from Olaoluwa Aina’s strike giving Super Eagles two goals lead.
In close stage of the second half, Likuena’s defenders were caught napping in count attacker as Azeez Ramon made a free pass to Osihem who bagged a brace by placing it in, on one-on-one situation with the goalkeeper.
Thereafter, Likuena added a second goal following Thabo Seakhoa’s wonderful cross which led to Chidozie Awaziem’s own goal.
After the match, Nigeria head coach Mr. Rohr said he knew that was difficult for his side to win in Lesotho, especially when they conceded a first goal.
“We know that it is difficult to win Lesotho, especially when we conceded a first goal. We had to run after this goal to take the match in our hand and I hope we did,” he continues.
“In the second half we changed a little bit of our organization. I saw that my players have fun and can play football. We controlled the match and we won the game.
“Congrats to our colleagues (Lesotho team), they gave us lot of troubles.”
Meanwhile, Lesotho head coach Mr. Thabo Senong said the game was about the experience, quality versus the right mentality.
“I like to congratulate Nigeria for the good win and our players for showing courage throughout ninety minutes.
“This was a game of experience, quality versus the right mentality,” he continues, adding that his team was not consistent in right application and right actions.
“If you look at the match we had some good moments but we are not consistent in the right actions and right applications; that is because of the experience we are lacking at times.
“But I must say that if our players concentrate and apply themselves very well we look better, we look good.”
Senong explained that his team lost it after scoring, because they failed to manage the game.
“Many individuals lose concentration maybe a little bit of excitement but its lesson learnt.
“We move forward, we have four games to go and Nigeria with their quality, one can see that they will probably steal points from every team in Group L,” he said.
He went on to say that it was important that they remained focused for the next assignment and also work hard to steal points from Benin, Sierra Leon and even to Nigeria on away game.
Senong indicated that he saw a lot of positives in his players’ playing personnel and even in their flexibility when they were trying different formations.
He added that the number of chances his side created gave him a lot of hope and they will continue working hard to improve.
“We will make sure that we do not drop our heads. We will plan and go forward,” He concluded.