Visiting Mauritius progressed to the Second Round of the Southern Zone qualifiers for the Total African Nations Championship (CHAN) Kenya 2018 after 1-1 draw with Seychelles in their First Round second leg on Saturday at the Stade Linite in Mahe.
The tie was enough for the Mauritians to advance 3-2 on aggregate after a 2-1 win in the reverse in Belle Vue last week.
It was a cagey start by both sides and the onus was on the home team to attack in their quest to overcome the deficit as interim coach Joel Decommarmond had promised.
The visitors though stunned their hosts in the 15th minute when defender Jude Nancy let Adrien Bottar slip passed him with ease and his cutback was drilled past goalie Jerome Dingwall by Louis Marco Dorza to open the scores and silence the home crowd.
The Seychellois lifted up their game and threw caution to the wind. They nearly levelled matters in the 19th minute from a Collin Esther cross which met the head of Ryan Antat and looked destined for the net but for a world class one-handed save by goalie Kevin Jean-Louis.
The Mauritian custodian again denied the Seychelles the equalizer in the 22nd minute from Esther’s teasing cross which was met by a Leeroy Corallie back flick.
The homers reverted to a 3-4-3 formation in the second period as they threw more men forward and they got their due reward on 50 minutes when Corallie who looked odds to score but was pulled back by Mauritian defender Emmanuel Vincent for a penalty.
Corallie stepped up to administer justice but his shot was pushed away by goalie Jean-Louis but he got a second bite of the cherry to level the score at 1-1 to raise the roof at Stade Linite.
The Seychelles team upped the tempo in the latter stages and Corallie was inches away from connecting to captain Gervais Waye-Hive’s inch perfect cross in the 73rd minute.
The Mauritians were under pressure as the home side attacked at will and their best chance to level came in the 75th minute from Collin Bibi’s deflected pass to substitute Elijah Tamboo who failed to hook the ball into the net allowing the visitors to snatch the tie and qualify for the next stage, where they will face Angola.
Elsewhere in Lilongwe, visiting Madagascar inflicted a painful 1-0 win over homers Malawi to advance 2-0 on aggregate. Njiva Rakotoarimalala scored the only goal on 47 minutes. The islanders will face Mozambique at the Second Round.
Joel Decommarmond (Head Coach, Seychelles)
We were hoping to win but we started slowly and also gave away a soft goal. We improved in the second half with a tactical switch but we were just unlucky not to score more, though I’m satisfied with my team’s performance.
Gervais Waye-Hive (Captain, Seychelles)
We did not make the best at the start and conceded a goal through lack of concentration. We pushed our opponents hard in the second half but our finishing let us down though we were superior than our opponent.
Joe Tshupula (Head Coach, Mauritius)
We played superbly tactically against an opponent who came all out to make things difficult for us. We scored early in this match which helped our cause. I’m proud of my players as they knew what was required to qualify for the next round, which is a bonus for my team.
Collin Bell (Captain, Mauritius)
We expected a very difficult match as we knew our opponent would come at us. We wanted to build on our advantage from the first match which we managed to do with an early goal. We are happy to have progressed to the next round though I must congratulate our opponent for a good match.
30.04.2017 South Sudan vs Somalia (2-1)
29.04.2017 Seychelles 1-1 Mauritius (1-2)
29.04.2017 Malawi 0-1 Madagascar (0-1)
Source: Confederation Africaine de Football