End of the road for Likuena
Burkina Faso (1) 1
A lone goal from Jonathan Pitroipa helped Burkina Faso to a 1-0 win over Likuena in an Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier played at Setsoto Stadium yesterday.
Yesterday’s defeat left Seephephe Matete’s charges stranded at the bottom of four-team Group C as they still have two points from five matches, and effectively ended their hopes of making a maiden appearance at the continental football showcase.
Burkina Faso winger, Pitroipa broke the deadlock a minute into the match after the home team’s defence was caught off-guard by Aristide Bance, whose through ball could not be cleared by Basia Makepe. Pitroipa obliged with a tap-in to put Lesotho under early pressure.
However, Likuena striker, Thapelo Tale, nearly found the equaliser on the 10th minute but his shot from range went over the bar.
Yet the West Africans were in total control of the match, with Pitroipa always a danger whenever in possession of the ball.
Likuena looked clueless on the few occasions they had the ball with midfielder, Teboho ‘Mota, particularly out-of-sorts as he almost always made dangerous back passes or gave the ball away cheaply to the aggressive Burkinabe.
The home side were then dealt a hammer blow in the 37th minute when winger Tšepo Seturumane had to be replaced by Jane Thaba-Ntšo due to injury.
The Stallions, as Burkina Faso are affectionately known, looked very comfortable on the ball and came close to extending their lead after Mabuti Potloane’s pass just outside the penalty area was intercepted by Patriopa, who played net one-twos with Bance but Likuena goalkeeper, Kholuoe Phasumane came to his side’s rescue and forced a corner three minutes before halftime.
The second half of the match was not that different from the first as Burkina Faso continued to dominate the exchanges.
However, Phafa Tšosane was unlucky that his well-curled set-piece was saved by goalkeeper Sanou Moussa.
Burkina Faso then introduced Issaka Oudriago for Moussa Yedam at the halftime break before Pitroipa made way for Benjamin Balim and Guira Adamo went in for Sunday Zongo later on in the match.
On the other hand, Likuena stalwart, Tšosane was substituted for Katleho Moleko before Lisema Lebokollane made his debut as he replaced the injured Mohau Rammoneng.
In a post-match interview, Likuena coach, Matete said it was a tough match and his side failed to rise to the occasion after conceding an early goal.
“We conceded very early and it became very difficult for my boys to come back into the match, especially against this very experienced Burkina Faso side,” Matete said.
“Our Afcon dreams have been shattered so I am now building for future international tournaments. That is why I have brought in new, young and energetic players into the team.”
On his part Burkina Faso coach, Paul Put said his players got the win, which he said was what really mattered.
“It was really tough since we were playing away from home, but I am happy with the result because the three points have taken us closer to the Afcon tournament next year,” Put said.
Meanwhile, in another Group C match played yesterday, Angola and Gabon played to a goalless draw.
After yesterday’s results, Burkina lead the group on 10 points; Gabon are second on nine; Angola are third on five and Lesotho anchor the pool on two. All the teams are left with one fixture each with the top two teams qualifying for the Afcon tournament scheduled for Equatorial Guinea in January.