FRANCISTOWN: The Zebras strolled to the next round of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers with an emphatic 3-1 victory over Eritrea before an electrifying 15 378 spectators who thronged the Francistown Sports Complex.
The Zebras advanced to the second round 5-1 on aggregate after last night’s brace from Mogakolodi ‘Tsotso’ Ngele and one from Joel Mogorosi.
Eritrea sprung a surprise on the counter in the 10th minute when Yonas Solomon crossed into the box and Henok Goitom outran two Zebras defenders before heading home to give the Camels the lead. The Zebras replied shortly as Ngele stepped up to coolly convert with his magical left foot from a free kick. The hosts surged ahead in the 20th minute when Mogorosi met Moyana’s perfect cross and planted a firm header to send Zebras supporters into delirium. Hendrick Moyo had numerous scoring opportunities, but lacked the cutting edge.
After the recess, Eritrea changed their game plan and started to press high forward. They brought out Yohannes Hadish for Sirak Beyene and attacked from the left side, but Boitumelo Mafoko marshalled his defence well.
In the 79th minute, Boy sent Moyo through with a defence splitting pass and Moyo’s nightmares in front of goal continued as his effort went agonisingly wide.
A minute later, Zebras danger man, Ngele completed his brace as he picked his spot, crashing in a half volley after Kabelo Seakanyeng found him with a neat pass. Ngele received a standing ovation from the fans when he was withdrawn for Lemponye Tshireletso in the 86th minute. Thereafter, the Zebras sat and passed the ball around to wind down the clock.
The Zebras could have won by a wider margin had they not been over elaborate in front of goal, but that mattered little as the team progressed to the next round to join 40 other opponents. A knock out draw will be conducted with the teams playing a home and away fixture to determine who makes it to the group stages.
Butler was elated, but said the finishing could have been better.
“It was a great performance after an epic trip. We passed the ball well but the finishing could have been better, but that’s a countrywide problem. But after winning 5-1 on aggregate let’s stop looking at the negatives. That’s the problem with Batswana at times. It’s sad that we focus on the negatives. Once again I would like to thank the Francistown crowd, they have been fantastic tonight,” he said.