Cairo, Monday @PeopleSports11
Lowly ranked Lesotho and Liberia pulled off shock victories Sunday in African Nations Championship (CHAN) second round first leg qualifiers.
Lesotho led twice in Maseru before snatching a 3-2 triumph over neighbours South Africa through a Lehlohonolo Fothoane goal one minute from time.
Liberia left it even later to upset Senegal 1-0 in Monrovia with Christopher Jackson grabbing the match-winner in the final minute.
There was also drama in Antananarivo as Madagascar, the surprise side of the Africa Cup of Nations that ended last weekend, pipped Mozambique 1-0 through a stoppage-time goal.
Unlike Friday and Saturday, when only one of seven home teams won, three triumphed Sunday and the other four drew.
Lesotho has ranked 144 in the world, 74 places below South Africa, and were underdogs even though the visitors fielded a youthful, experimental side.
With the South African Premiership kicking off next Saturday, none of the local stars who reached the Cup of Nations quarter-finals were available due to pre-season training. Goals by Tsepo Seturumane and Hlompho Kalake for the Lesotho Crocodiles were cancelled by Tercious Malepe and substitute Livuyo Phewa, leaving the teams level after 78 minutes.
But with a draw looming, Fothoane, a 22-year-old midfielder who plays for top-flight club Bantu in a town 75 kilometres (47 miles) south of Maseru, stole the show.
Jackson is also 22 years old and plays for first division outfit Liberian International Shipping and Corporate Registry (LISCR FC), popularly known as the Shipping Boys.
The victory was a timely boost for a country that has had little success internationally at national team and club levels recently and lie 132 places below Senegal in the world rankings.
None of the Senegal team that finished runners-up to Algeria in the 2019 Cup of Nations was involved as the CHAN is restricted to footballers playing in their country of birth.
Senegal has constantly struggled when playing away in the Nations Championship with the loss in Monrovia their sixth in nine qualifiers spanning six editions.
Arnaud Randrianantenaina scored three minutes into stoppage time for Madagascar, who far exceeded expectations by reaching the Cup of Nations quarter-finals in Egypt this month.