By Xinhua

SPORTS: Botswana beat Zambia 1-0 in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Group H qualifier match played on Monday evening in Francistown.

A first half goal by Mosha Gaolaolwe was enough to get the Zebras their first win of the qualifiers and keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the continental showpiece, after a difficult start where they had collected only a single point from three matches.

Adel Amrouche’s men badly needed the win after falling to Zambia 2-1 in Friday’s first leg.

The Zebras made their intentions clear from the start as they launched several attacks to try to get an early goal to unsettle their opponents.

Zambia had a better chance on paper against a Botswana side who had not played any competitive football since February following the stoppage of local football activities due to COVID-19.

However, the Zebras were rewarded with a goal in the 15th minute as Gaolaolwe met Kabo Seakanyeng’s cross to beat Zambia goalkeeper Sebastian Mwange at the near post. Moments earlier, Mwange had produced a fine save to deny Tumisang Orebonye’s header from a brilliant set piece by Mogakolodi Ngele.

Zambia failed to deal with the resultant corner, resulting in Seakanyeng setting up Gaolaolwe for the goal.

The home side had an opportunity to double their lead in the 38th minute, as Seakanyeng slit through the Zambia defence on a counter-attack but his shot bounced off the upright.

Zambia created more chances in the second half with fatigue seemingly creeping in for the home players, but good goalkeeping by Kabelo Dambe and some brilliant defending kept them in the lead.

Gaolaolwe could have made it 2-0 midway through the second half as he received the ball unmarked from a corner, but headed over the crossbar.

With time running out for Zambia to equalize, they made several changes in the second half but Botswana were equal to task and held out for the win.

Botswana now sit third in the group with four points from four matches, with their next match against Zimbabwe next March.