Saturday Cosafa Cup Review: Eswatini rally to deny Mauritius in Group A

Sihlangu Semnikati had to fight back to hold Les Dodos in the first game of the tournament on Saturday afternoon

The 2019 Cosafa Cup Group A match between Eswatini and Mauritius took place at the King Zwelithini Stadium in Durban.

The group initially had four teams but Angola pulled out of the regional competition citing preparations for the 2019 Caf African Cup of Nations tournament set to be staged in Egypt next month. That left three teams in the group including Comoros.

The encounter between Sihlangu Semnikati and Les Dodos produced a thriller as a brace from the impressive Ashley Nazira saw Mauritius claiming a point in a 2-2 draw.

Eswatini netted through Siboniso Mamba and the experienced Felix Badenhorst .

Mauritius claimed the lead on two occasions in the clash, but they failed to hold on to their lead.

Les Dodos grabbed the lead in the 28th minute courtesy of Nazira, who beat the offside trap and with a clear run on goal and supplied a neat finish past goalkeeper Sandanezwe Mathabela.

However, the lead was shortlived as Eswatini levelled the matters two minutes later through a set-piece when Mamba headed home from a corner.

The two Southern African sides went into the break level.

Coached by former Orlando Pirates coach in Kostadin Papic, Eswatini continued to attack, but they were hit by a sucker-punch with 20 minutes left when Mauritius retook the lead through Nazira from a low cross down the right flank.

For the second time in the match, the celebration was ended by Badenhorst when he provided a fine finish for his seventh career Cosafa Cup goal and closing in on the all-time record of Zimbabwe’s Peter Ndlovu, who scored eight.

Ultimately, the encounter ended in a 2-2 stalemate after the two teams failed to score in the dying minutes of the game.

Cosafa Cup action will continue on Sunday with a double-header in Group B. Mozambique and Namibia will clash at 14h00, while Malawi are scheduled to face Seychelles at 16h30.