By Staff Reporter,
Ethiopia surmounted the biggest comeback from a goal down to beat visiting Lesotho Likuena 2-1 in a highly entertaining match player at the Barhirdar Stadium with an estimated 70,000 fans cheering the Wali Ibex on Sunday in their Group J Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
The game was the first for new coach Yohannes Sahle who instituted changes to the team that played in the 2013 Afcon hosted by South Africa and World Cup 2014 qualifiers.
Lesotho, who were in fine form in the 2015 Afcon qualifiers as they knocked out star studded Harambee Stars of Kenya which contributed in coach Adel Amrouche losing his job, were the first to find the back of the net just four minutes before the end of the first half but the crowd remained buoyant supporting the players.
In the second half, Ethiopia came with a positive attitude knowing that the match was not yet over and they needed to utilize the many chances and true to their character they did not disappoint after a hearty half time talk by coach Sahle.
Youngster Gatoch Panon equalized for Ethiopia in the 64th minute of the match with a beautiful goal taking the score to 1-1 giving Walia the much needed confidence as Lesotho worked hard to defend their early goal.
Ten minutes later Saladin Said banged in the second goal for Ethiopia which became their winning goal, 2-1 and what a way to come back for the Captain who missed the better part of last year’s qualifiers dogged with injuries but the Al Ahly man was the hero with a beautifully taken goal that beat Lesotho keeper all the way.
The win ensured Ethiopia remained second in Group J behind Algeria on goal difference as they beat Seychelles 4-0 in their first qualifying game.
The next challenge for Ethiopia will now be Seychelles on September 5 late this year.
Ethiopia XI vs Lesotho Abel (GK), Zekarias, Aschalew, Salhadin B., Siyoum, Oumed, Gatoch, Shimelis, Behailu, Salhadin S., Getaneh