Francisco Mwepu and Elliot Kampukesa scored second half goals as hosts Zambia completed a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Comoros Islands in their Group A clash at the 2019 COSAFA Men's Under-20 Championship in Lusaka on Saturday (7 December).
The victory meant Zambia make it two wins from two and take a giant step towards the semifinals with one round of pool matches still to play, topping the group with six points, followed by Malawi (four), Botswana (one) and Comoros (zero).
They now face a winner-takes-all showdown with Malawi in their final game on Monday.
Mwepu opened the scoring on 56 minutes, his second of the tournament, before Kampukesa added an insurance goal with nine minutes remaining.
Mwepu also missed a penalty after that, but the hosts did enough to collect all three points.
Botswana and Malawi played to an entertaining 2-2 draw in the other fixture in the pool that also sprung to life in the second half.
After a goalless first period, Botswana took the lead through Phaza Chose on 55 minutes, but Malawi struck back five minutes later when substitute Lanjesi Nkhoma scored.
The Young Flames hit the front three minutes later via another substitute, Chinsinsi Maonga, but could not hold on for the win as Doctor David popped up with 10 minutes remaining to steal a point.
Angola made it two wins from two in Group C as they played to a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Mozambique.
Ambrosini Salvador grabbed the only goal of the game in the second half, his third in two matches, as the Angolans' impressive start to the competition continued.
Mozambique stand on the brink of elimination if Eswatini defeat Seychelles on Sunday, as they have now played to back-to-back defeats.
The clash between the islanders and Eswatini will kick-off at 10h00 at the Sunset Stadium, the first of three more games on the day. Eswatini were also impressive in the way they defeated Mozambique and will be favourites to see off Seychelles.
There are also two matches in Group B as defending champions South Africa will also seek to make it two from two when they take on impressive Madagascar in what is perhaps the pivotal contest in the pool.
The game will kick-off at 15h30 and should be a fiercely contested game between two asides who enjoyed resounding victories in their openers.
South Africa beat Mauritius 5-0, while Madagascar won 3-0 against Lesotho.
Madagascar are one of the strongest teams in the group, their senior national team is doing well and the inspiration has rubbed off on the young team that is here in Zambia, South Africa coach Helman Mkhalele said.
We are expecting a tougher, quicker and stronger opponent, and tactically they will be better than Mauritius. We need to make sure we prepare thoroughly for the game.
We want to make sure we do not lose, to give us the best chance of progressing to the semifinals. Our boys know it will be a hard game.
The other game in Group B is a chance for Lesotho and Mauritius to stay in the competition and will kick-off at 12h45.
General entrance tickets cost K10.00 and are valid for all matches played on the day. There is also a VIP option available for at a cost of K50.00. Tickets in both categories are on sale at Computicket in all Shoprite outlets nationwide.
Only the top team in each group advances to the semifinals, along with the best-placed runner-up.
Source: South Africa Football Association