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LOBAMBA – Eswatini 2022 TOTALEnergies CAF Champions League envoys Royal Leopard are two games away from the E9. 7 million bounty for reaching the group stages.

This is the minimum amount a team gets for passing through the first two rounds to reach the group stages. Edwin Matsebula charges beat a10 –man visiting Madagascar’s CFFA 2-1 at Somhlolo National Stadium yesterday. Leopard won the two-legged preliminary round on a 5-3 aggregate to progress to the next round. Ingwe Mabalabala will now face the winner between Coton Sport from Cameroon and Lesotho’s Matlama United. The two sides will lock horns today at 7pm, with the former having an advantage over the latter with a 3-0 lead in the first leg played last week.

Coming back to the game, CFFA drew first blood against the run of play, eight minutes into the game, through Lalaina Cliver Rafanomezantsoa, who received a clever pass from the enterprising Solomampionona Koloina Razafindranaivo from the left flank. The visitors nearly doubled their lead when Tantely Razafitsalama’s well taken shot was headed away on the goalline, with goalkeeper Mlamuli Makhanya well beaten, two minutes before the half hour mark. Leopard was awarded a set piece 77 minutes into the game, on the right flank just outside the box. Junior Magagula delivered a well weighted cross and unmarked Thami Zulu rose the highest to nod home inside the box to reduce the deficit.

Matsebula introduced Menzi Sithole for Junior Magagula and this seemed to be the right tonic as Sithole scored seven minutes before regulation time. He received a nice pass from debutant Mphumuzo Sangweni and he raced toward goal. He came face-to-face with goalkeeper Andrianirina Rajomazandry, dribbled him and slotted the ball into the empty net. South African Referee Abongile Tom, blew his final whistle to signal the end of the match and confirmed Leopard’s passage to the second round of the preliminary round.

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