Lesotho pulled off one of the greatest shocks in COSAFA Castle Cup history when they defeated Angola 2-1 in Maseru in the semifinals of the 2000 tournament to end Palancas Negras’ reign as champions.
The match was not without some controversy, but ended in favour of Lesotho, who were at the time ranked 99 places below Angola in the FIFA World Rankings and were not expected to be much of a challenge for the star-studded Angolans.
But perhaps they were not given the credit they deserved after defeating mighty Zambia in a penalty shoot-out in the quarterfinals to seal a place in the Last 4. It was clear this Lesotho side had some steel.
Things appeared to be going according to plan for the Angolans when striker Akwa put them in front on the half-hour mark with a superb free-kick he managed to bend around the wall.
But the visitors failed to press home their advantage and push for a second goal, instead sitting back and inviting pressure from the home team in the belief they would be able to keep them at bay.
And it looked as though they might right up until six minutes from time when Motlatsi Maseela grabbed a superb equaliser for Lesotho. Motlatsi Shale chested the ball down for his teammate to blast home from close-range.
And just as it looked as though the match would be headed for extra-time, Lesotho grabbed a winner in a manner that still rankles with the Angolans today.
Having been awarded a free-kick, Lesotho striker Teele Ntsonyana took the set-piece quickly before Botswana referee Aloisious Sesikwe had blown his whistle.
This caught he Angolans off-guard and they were furious as the ball sailed into the back of the net for one of the most important goals in Lesotho football history.
It was the first time that Angola, who did not compete in the inaugural event in 1997, had been defeated in 12 COSAFA Castle Cup matches after they had lifted the title in 1998 and 1999, but were denied their hat-trick.
It remains the only win for Lesotho against a major regional power in the COSAFA Castle Cup and also earned them their only final appearance so far.
They could not repeat their heroics in the deciding match though as they went down 6-0 on aggregate to Zimbabwe after a pair of 3-0 losses home and away.
As fate would have it, Lesotho and Angola have been paired in the first round draw for the 2016 COSAFA Castle Cup along with Malawi and Mauritius. The winner of that pool will face South Africa in the quarterfinals.
Sunday, July 23, 2000 – Maseru
Lesotho (0) 2
Angola (1) 1
Goals: 0-1 Akwa 30′; 1-1 Motlatsi Maseela 84′; 2-1 Teele Ntsonyana 89′
Cautions: Malefetsane Pheko 36′; Helder Vicente 44′, Edson Cata 53′, Silas 75′, Antonio Neto 89′
Ref.: Alousious Sesikwe (Botswana)
Man of the match: Motlatsi Maseela (Lesotho)
Lesotho: Tseliso Thite, Mpitsa Marai, Thabang Mahlakajoe, Eric Makara (Seth Lephoto 89′), Motlatsi Maseela, Tsepo Hlojeng, Lehlohonolo Seema, Malefetsane Pheko (Shalane Lehohla 63′), Motheo Mohapi (Motlatsi Shale 80′), Teele Ntsonyana, Lebajoa Mphongoa. Coach: Monaheng Monyane.
Angola: Ndulo, Renato (Djana 70′), Antonio Neto, Helder Vicente, Yamba Asha, Carlos Pedro, Joni, Paulao (Taty 79′), Edson Cata, Silas, Akwa. Coach: Carlos Alhinho.
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