Angola keeps Eswatini in CHAN check yet again

Angola CHAN

Visiting Angola are just not about to let success seeking Eswatini loose once again pointing to another progress block, a third one, with this 1-1 draw first leg result of the 2020 Total Africa Nations Championship South Zone second round qualifier played at Mavuso Sports Centre on Sunday.

While it seems it's proving a little bit difficult for Eswatini to freely score at home despite this 89th minute Menzi Sithole strike cancelling an Augusto Dominguez 52nd minute opener, Eswatini will remain much more worried about the futility of a home win with the home winless streak now set to stretch to over three years.

For the frightening statistics, Eswatini's 1-0 win over Guinea in the 2017 Total Africa Cup of Nations Group L qualifier played at Somhlolo National Stadium on the 5th of June 2016 translated to over three years without home victory building a lot pressure from the anticipation.

Sunday's tie had opened off with both teams almost at par in the opening half but the visitors took control of the affair at the birth of the second half and deservedly found themselves into the lead thanks to an Augusto strike inside the box which left Sandanezwe Mathabela stranded and the home side at Angola's mercy.

Eswatini tried to fight back but it was Fanelo Mamba's introduction which added fire power and relentlessly on the stroke of fulltime courtesy of Sithole with the home finally celebrated their first home soil goal this year, second home goal in two calendar years with the other coming from the 1-2 defeat to Niger on the 18th of November 2018.

Notably, Eswatini has only managed eight home goals in 11 home ties across three international tournaments (two Total Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, three Total Africa Nations Championship qualifiers and one World Cup qualifiers) in the last five years and this presents a migraine like headache to coach Kostadin Papic who equally lamented lacklustre show in front of goal.

"We created a lot of chances which we could not turn into goals. This is something we urgently need to work on and rectify if we are to win games. Unfortunately there is little time between now and the reverse fixture," said Papic.

His Angola counterpart, Jose Silvestre said despite conceding a late equalizer, his lads had stuck to the intended game plan not to crumble to Eswatini pressure.

"We knew it was going to be a difficult game against Eswatini thus we need to absorb their pressure and despite letting in the late goal my players diligently stuck to our game plan hopefully we finish off the tie back home," said Silvestre.

Coincidentally, this is the third set of two legged CHAN qualifiers meeting between the two nations with Angola holding Eswatini 2-2 at Somhlolo National Stadium on the 21st of June 2015 before finishing them off 2-0 in Luanda on the 4th of June 2015.

They met in the 2014 Total Africa Nations Championship qualifier first round with Angola winning the two legs with identical 1-0 scorelines on the 23rd of June at Somhlolo and six days later in Luanda.

To reach the second round of qualifiers, Angola enjoyed a bye while Eswatini needed an away goals rule after notching up an away 1-1 draw against Malawi for the equal aggregate three months ago.

Meanwhile, the Mauritius versus Zimbabwe tie was on Sunday afternoon washed away without a ball kicked in Flacq after a waterlogged Augustre Vollaire Stadium gave in to incessant rains forcing a 24 hour kick off delay.