09 June 2018 02:20
An early goal from Lesotho strikerMasoabi Nkoto handed his side a 1-0 victory over Madagascar and a first ever bronze medal for the Crocodiles in the COSAFA Cup at the New Peter Mokaba Stadium on Friday.
South Africa had earlier claimed the Plate competition with a more comprehensive 3-0 win over Botswana in the final of that section.
Lesotho had previously won silver in the COSAFA Cup when they lost the 2000 final to Zimbabwe, but apart from that this has been the best regional showpiece competition for coach Moses Maliehe’s side as they finished third.
For Madagascar it was a sixth fixture in 13 days and they battled to hit the heights of previously in the tournament, but did have chances to get something from the game.
Lesotho hit the front after an early period of pressure as Masoabi Nkoto rifled the ball into the roof of the net from close-range as Madagascar hesitated in clearing the ball.
The first half saw few chances, with the best for Madagascar falling to Rabeson Fetraniaina as he got a clear sight of goal, but put his low shot wide with Lesotho goalkeeper Likano Mphuthi struggling.
Jaotombo Bourahim was presented with a shooting chance early in the second period, but his low effort was straight at the keeper, and he later fired wide when well-placed.
At the other end, Lesotho midfielder Hlompho Kalake flashed a vicious shot inches wide, and Litsepe Marabe was denied with a good stop by Malagasy goalkeeper Jean Dieu Randrianasolo.
Lesotho were able to close out the final minutes and ensure that they went through their three games in the 2018 COSAFA Cup without conceding a goal.
Hosts South Africa wrapped up the Plate final with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Botswana.
A sixth game in 12 days was always going to be a tough ask for The Zebras and so it proved as South Africa dominated the game.
South Africa hit the front after Botswana could only half-clear a corner and when the ball came back to Aubrey Modiba, his left-footed cross was perfect for Motjeka Madisha to steer his header past a stranded Masule on 39 minutes for his first international goal.
It was 2-0 to South Africa with 12 minutes remaining as a swift break saw Siphesihle Ndlovu rampage down the right-hand side having beaten the offside trap and his square-ball was easily tapped home by Modiba for his second goal in as many matches.
And the home side grabbed another late on as Lebohang Maboe raced clear and rounded the goalkeeper to score his third of the competition.
Saturday will see the completion of the tournament as Zambia take on Zimbabwe in the final for the fourth time in the last six COSAFA Cups.
That included the final last year when Zimbabwe romped to a 3-1 success in Phokeng to lift a record fifth COSAFA Cup title.
They are both chasing the R500,000 first prize, while the runners-up will receive R250,000.
Leostho claimed R150,000 for finishing third, while Madagascar took over R125,000 for their fourth-place.
South Africa picked up R100,000 for winning the Plate competition, which represents fifth place
South Africa (1) 3(Motjeka Madisha 39’, Aubrey Modiba 78’, Lebohang Maboe 89’) Botswana 0
Cup Third-Place Play-Off
Madagascar 0 Lesotho (1) 1(Masoabi Nkoto 10’)
Zambia vs Zimbabwe (KO 15h00 local, 13h00 GMT) – New Peter Mokaba Stadium