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Zambia reach Cosafa Castle Cup semifinals

© Reuters Limited 2001

By Mark Gleeson

MASERU, June 24 (Reuters) - A 10-man Zambia held off a late onslaught to beat Lesotho 2-1 in Sunday's Cosafa Castle Cup quarter-final in Maseru and reach the last four of the southern African championship. Zambia looked to be headed for a comfortable win over their lowly-ranked opponents after midfielder Gift Kampamba had given them a two-goal lead shortly after half-time. But a defensive error allowed Lesotho to reduce the deficit and three minutes later defender Laughter Chilembi was sent off for retaliation after being chopped down by a vicious tackle. The home team then laid siege to the Zambian goal but were unable to find an equaliser. Zambia, who had been beaten by Lesotho on penalties at the same stage of last year's competition, led after 18 minutes when Harry Milanzi scored at the end of a well worked build-up on the edge of the penalty area.

Kampamba pounced on some hesitant defending to rob Refiloe Potse of possession and make it 2-0 for the visitors three minutes after interval. But Lesotho pulled a goal back nine minutes later when Zambia defender Mark Sinyangwe missed a challenge, allowing Lesotho wingback Motlatsi Maseela to drive a powerful square cross into the penalty area, which Zambian goalkeeper Collins Mbulo could only touch into the path of Teele Ntsonyana.

Lesotho's chances of an equaliser improved when Chilembi attacked Lesotho's Malefetsane Pheko after Pheko had caught him with a studs-up tackle. The referee sent off the Zambian for retaliation but took no action against Pheko, sparking furious protests from Zambia's Dutch-born coach Jan Brouwer. Maseela went narrowly wide with a long-range drive soon after and Mbulo made a spectacular save to deny a swerving shot by Mphongoa.

Lesotho kept up the pressure until the final whistle but could not find a way past a packed Zambian defence. Two-time winners Zambia now join Angola in the semifinals of the annual regional competition. The two other quarter-finals will be played next month.

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