The Seychelles played spoilers at the COSAFA Cup on Tuesday, holding a 10-man Madagascar to a 1-1 draw and opening up a chance for Mozambique to yet emerge as winners when Group A is concluded on Thursday.
Madagascar were favoured to win a second game — and virtually make sure of a spot in the last eight — and took an expected lead through Joatombo Bourahim in the first half but allowed their island rivals to fight back and equalise through a header from centre back Eric Miellie.
Madagascar had Lalaina Manampisoa sent off for retaliation with some 13 minutes to go, yet still managed to dominate, forcing several clearances off the line from the Seychelles, who again managed a draw to their great delight.
Madagascar will still advance to the quarter-finals if they win their last game on Thursday against the Comoros Islands as they have four points, one more than Mozambique and two more than the Seychelles, who are also still in contention.
Mozambique restored their chances with a 3-0 demolition of the Comoros Islands in the earlier match on Tuesday as the Seshego Stadium was used for the first time.
But the Mambas are only on three points and need a favour from the Comoros on the final day of group action. Mozambique will also have to win their last game against dogged Seychelles to stand any chance of qualifying.
Mozambique’s coach Abel Xavier had bemoaned a lack of application from his players as they lost 2-1 to Madagascar in Sunday’s opener but was mightily pleased with the way they bounced back.
Luis Miquissone finished superbly on two occasions to take his tournament goal tally to three after centre back Jeitoso, removed as captain for the game, had opened the scoring with a powerful header from a corner.
On Wednesday, Botswana and Mauritius will have their credentials tested after their surprise victories in their first Group B games on Monday.
Botswana upset Angola 2-1 and now go up against Malawi, who had the bulk of the play against Mauritius and yet lost by a single goal.
Angola are also in a do-or-die situation when they take on Mauritius at 17h00 (1500 GMT).
Comoros Islands 0 Mozambique 3 (Jeitoso, Luis Miquissone 2)
Madagascar 1 (Joatombo Bourahim) Seychelles 1(Eric Millie)
Angola v Mauritius (KO 17h00 local, 15h00 GMT)
Botswana vs Malawi (KO 19h30 local, 17h30 GMT)
Group A P W D L GF GA Pts
Madagascar 2 1 1 0 3 2 4
Mozambique 2 1 0 1 4 2 3
Seychelles 2 0 2 0 2 2 2
Comoros Islands 2 0 1 1 1 4 1
Group B P W D L GF GA Pts
Botswana 1 1 0 0 2 1 3
Mauritius 1 1 0 0 1 0 3
Angola 1 0 0 1 1 2 0
Malawi 1 0 0 1 0 1 0
Matches Played: 6
Goals scored: 14
Biggest victory: Comoros Islands 0 Mozambique 3 (Group A, May 29)
Most goals in a game: 3 – Botswana 2 Angola 1 (Group B, May 28); Madagascar 2 Mozambique 1 0 (Group A, May 27); Comoros Islands 0 Mozambique 3 (Group A, May 29)
3 goals – Luis Miquissone (Mozambique)
1 goal – Kaporal (Angola), Onkabetse Makgantai, Kabelo Seakanyeng (both Botswana), Mohamed M’changama (Comoros Islands), Andriamirado Andrianarimanana, Tokifandresena Andriamanjato, Joatombo Bourahim (all Madagascar), Damien Balisson (Mauritius), Jeitoso (Mozambique), Leeroy Coralie, Eric Miellie (both Seychelles).