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ZAMBIA’S Chipolopolo on Thursday made an embarrassing start to their COSAFA Cup title defence with a 2-1 loss to Lesotho at Nelson Mandela Bay.
Fielding Zambia’s strongest lineup at a COSAFA Cup since 2007, Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic’s side dominated a first half but did it in off-tune fashion.
It was also an unacceptable defeat especially that Lesotho had lost 3-1 to eSwatini in their opening Group A match on Tuesday.
Justin Shonga put Zambia ahead in the 28th minute when he finished of a Gampani Lungu rebound.
Shonga’s goal came six minutes after he saw his header from Roderick Kabwe’s free-kick come off the beam.
Zambia then went onto the break with what was a seemingly promising lead.
However, a sign that things would not go according to plan for Zambia manifested themselves in the 65th minute with two sitters missed in succession.
Augustine Mulenga tame shot was poorly cleared but even more criminal was Gamphani Lungu’s rebound shot in front of an open goal that he instead astonishingly elected to fire wide.
Lesotho then sensed a weakness and tuned on the pressure with Tumelo Khutlang giving Zambia’s defence a torrid time after briefly testing the waters earlier in the first half.
Khutlang set up Motebang Sera for a brace in the 69th and 88th minutes to hand Lesotho their first COSAFA Cup win over Zambia since the 2000 quarterfinals in Maseru that they won 3-1 on post-match penalties following a 0-0 draw.
Chipolopolo now face eSwatini on July 10 in a match they must win with Botswana and South Africa to come thereafter in an uphill battle to retain their COSAFA Cup crown.