Two wonder goals from Madagascar continued the giant killing on Monday at the Southern African championship, the Cosafa Cup. Their last-gasp 2-1 victory over Ghana means that there will be a new name on the trophy after Saturday’s final. Mozambique also progressed to the semi-finals by beating Malawi on penalties after a 2-2 draw. On Sunday champions Zambia lost to Namibia and hosts South Africa to Botswana, both games went to penalties. It means Thursday’s semi-finals will see Madagascar will play Namibia and Botswana against Mozambique. The losing teams all drop into the second tier plate competition where Zambia will take on Ghana and South Africa face Malawi on Wednesday. Madagascar humbled guest side Ghana thanks to an extraordinary winner in the last minute of the match at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace on Monday night.
Olivier Simouri delivered a cross-cum-shot from almost out on the right wing, hitting the ball perfectly into the top corner of the net over experienced goalkeeper Fatau Dauda (pictured), for a dramatic winner just as the game was poised to go to post-match penalties. Madagascar’s opening goal was also a superb effort as Michel Randriamanjaka netted his third goal of the tournament. It was a stunning curling free kick, in the 28th minute, that gave Dauda, captaining a team made up exclusively of home-based players, no chance from outside the penalty area. The Black Stars, invited as guests after Angola failed to enter, were surprisingly lightweight in the midfield contest allowing the Malagasy, after initially looking overawed, to gain confidence and battle on equal terms. But the islanders, playing their fourth game in exactly week after coming through last week’s group phase, threatened to undo all their good work when they gave away a soft equaliser in the 39th minute. Goalkeeper Jean Randrianasolo fumbled a long range half volley from Daniel Darkwah onto his post and then watched in horror as it trickled over the line. In Monday’s other quarter-final, Malawi captain Lucky Malata sliced an attempted clearance into his own net to give Mozambique the half-time lead. But Malawi, who dominated play, got a deserved equaliser from Muhammad Sulumba, who powered home a corner with a 51st minute header. The last quarter-final also looked headed to penalties when John Banda was bundled over in the box by Mozambican fullback Norberto and the Swaziland referee Smanga Nhleko pointed to the spot. Malawi’s experienced fullback Limbikani Mzava drilled the penalty into the net to seemingly settle the outcome. But Mozambique launched a last gasp attack from the subsequent kick off, with the game two minutes into stoppage time already, forcing a comical error in Malawi’s defence the saw Mzava touch the ball past his own goalkeeper for a 2-2 finish. That meant a penalty shootout where Malawi’s misfortune continued as they were 2-0 up at one stage only to lose 5-4 and go out. Thursday’s semi-finals on Thursday feature four countries who have never before won the southern African championship. Only Namibia have previously reached a final in 1997 and 1998.