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HomeFIFA World CupZim Suffer Huge Blow In Bafana Group

Zim Suffer Huge Blow In Bafana Group

Minnows Lesotho handed a star-studded Zimbabwe outfit a 2-0 defeat in their 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Group C clash played at Orlando Stadium on Friday afternoon.

The Warriors came into the tie rooted at the bottom of Group C with two points from their opening two matches. They held Rwanda to a goalless stalemate away from home, and avoided defeat against Nigeria, as the tie ended 1-1.

Likuena on the other hand have shown that they’re no pushovers, holding both Nigeria and Benin to 1-1 and 0-0 draws, respectively.

It was a frantic start with Zimbabwe going on the early attack as Jordan Zemura created the most promising moment of the match in the 12th minute after breaking through the middle of the Lesotho defence. His shot, however, failed to even get on target as it rolled across the face of goal and out for a goal kick.

Twenty-one minutes in saw the deadlock being broken as the visitors took a shock lead. Rethabile Rasithunts’a tapped in from close range after the tall Zimbabwean defenders failed to clear a corner which fell kindly to the Lesotho number three who made it 1-0.

In the 23rd minute, Zimbabwe sought an immediate response but Daniel Nsendami’s shot lacked precision as his attempted target sailed wide off the Lesotho post.

Former Orlando Pirates defender Marshal Muneetsi came close to pulling matters level in the 25th minute with a well-taken free-kick from the edge of the box but Sekhoane Moerane pulled off a great save, punching the ball out for a corner.

It was Tawanda Chirewa’s chance a minute later as he collected the ball inside the box from Zemura but could only see his shot rattle the crossbar with Moerane well-beaten before the Likuena defence cleared the danger.

Jairos Tapera’s side was then made to rue that missed chance as Jane Thabants’o made it 2-0 for Likuena in the 31st minute after outpacing the Warriors defence to slot pass Bernard Donovan.

In the 39th minute, former Kaizer Chiefs defender Teenage Hadebe was unlucky to see his headed effort from a corner kick glance off the goalkeeper and out for a corner kick.

It should’ve been a brace for Thabants’o on the stroke of half-time after sneaking in behind the Warriors defence but his chipped effort just sailed over the crossbar, as Likuena took the 2-0 advantage into the break.

The second half was no different as Zimbabwe piled the pressure, with Likuena taking advantage of their uncharacteristic errors.

Mamelodi Sundowns left-back Divine Lunga was provided a chance to get his side on the scoresheet in the 68th minute after the hosts were awarded a set-piece two yards out. The Lesotho wall however stood firm thwarting the threat.

Tymon Machope thought he had won himself a penalty after being brought down by Moerane in the 18-yard box in the 72nd minute, but the referee showed no interest, waving play on.

PSL-based striker Motebang Sera, currently on loan at Golden Arrows from Royal AM, had a huge chance to bury Zimbabwe in the 77th minute after Hadebe misjudged a looped ball, but the Likuena number nine opted for a dink as Donovan stayed low to make an easy save and keep the score unchanged at 2-0.

In the 84th minute, Muneetsi’s audacious bicycle kick in the box could only come off the crossbar with Moerane in no man’s land, as Zimbabwe’s chances kept slipping away.

Despite Zimbabwe throwing everything at their less-fancied opponents, Leslie Notsi’s charges held on to claim a historic victory and shoot to the top of Group C momentarily, with heavyweights South Africa and Nigeria locking horns in the later kick-off.

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