Madagascar, Swaziland set up showdown for Group B honours

Madagascar and Swaziland will be involved in a showdown for top spot in Group B at the COSAFA Cup 2015 after both sides made it two wins from two in the latest round of action on Wednesday.

The pair clash at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace on Friday in a winner-takes-all dual, though a draw will be enough for the Malagasy to seal a quarterfinal meeting with Ghana.

Tanzania and Lesotho will play a dead rubber that will decide who finishes third in the pool after both lost their opening two games in South Africa.
Madagascar were superb in picking apart Tanzania 2-0 on Wednesday and the controlled the match from start to finish.

Martin Rakotoharimalala scored the opener on 14 minutes as he blasted into the roof of the net after reacting quickest to a loose ball in the Tanzania box.

The islanders continued to dominate and doubled their lead just before halftime as Michel Randriamanjaka was given too much space on the right-hand side of the box and powered his shot past the helpless Tanzania goalkeeper.

Tanzania looked stronger in the second period but the cushion allowed Madagascar to sit back and absorb the pressure, and they easily held on for their win.

Swaziland joined them on six points at the top of the pool after an equally dominant 2-0 win over Lesotho.

Xolani Sibandze and Mthunzi Mkhontfo turned in goals for Swaziland on either side of half-time as they followed up their opening round victory over Tanzania with another clean-sheet and all three points.

Thursday sees the final round of matches in Group A, where Zimbabwe and Namibia will also be involved in a winner-takes-all clash at the Moruleng Stadium (kick-off 17h00 local; 15h00 GMT).

Zimbabwe need just a point to set up a quarterfinal meeting with Zambia, but come up against a Namibian side who have looked superb in their opening two games, without much luck.

Neither side has conceded a goal in the COSAFA Cup 2015 yet, but Namibia will be hoping for more of a cutting edge up front against the well-organised Zimbabweans.

At the same time at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Seychelles and Mauritius play for island pride in their final game of the competition.

Both sides are certain to go home after the clash, but with Indian Oceans Games and the 2017 African Nations Cup qualifiers to look forward to, there is much to be gained from the outing.
WEDNESDAY’S RESULTS

Group B
Madagascar 2 (Rakotoharimalala 14’, Randriamanjaka 44’) Tanzania 0
Lesotho 0 Swaziland 2 (Sibandze 43’, Mkhontfo 66’)

THURSDAY’S FIXTURES
Group A
Namibia vs Zimbabwe (KO 17h00 local, 15h00 GMT) – Moruleng Stadium
Seychelles vs Mauritius (KO 17h00 local, 15h00 GMT) – Royal Bafokeng Stadium

STANDINGS
Group A                     P       W        D         L        GF       GA       Pts
Zimbabwe                 2          2          0          0          3          0          6
Namibia                     2          1          1          0           2          0          4
Seychelles                 2          0          1          1           0          1           1
Mauritius                  2          0          0          2          0          4          0          
Group B                     P        W        D         L       GF       GA       Pts
Madagascar             2          2          0          0          4          1          6
Swaziland                 2          2          0          0          3          0         6
Lesotho                     2          0          0          2          1          4          0
Tanzania                   2          0          0          2          0          3         0

TOURNAMENT STATS
Matches Played: 8
Goals scored: 13
Biggest victory: Zimbabwe 2 Mauritius 0 (Group A, May 17); Namibia 2 Mauritius 0 (Group A, May 19); Madagascar 2 Tanzania 0 (Group B, May 20); Lesotho 0 Swaziland 2 (Group B, May 20)
Most goals in a game: 3 – Lesotho 1 Madagascar 2 (Group B, May 18)

GOALSCORERS
2 goals – Benson Shilongo (Namibia)
1 – Talent Chawaphiwa (Zimbabwe), Ronald Chitiyo (Zimbabwe), Sifiso Mabila (Swaziland), Mthunzi Mkhontfo (Swaziland), Lantonirina Rabehasinmbola (Madagascar), Martin Rakotoharimalala (Madagascar), Michel Randriamanjaka (Madagascar), Carlos Rusere (Zimbabwe), Xolani Sibandze (Swaziland), Thapelo Tale (Lesotho), Sarivahy Vombola (Madagascar)