POLOKWANE - Botswana trounced Mauritius 6-0 in South Africa Friday to reach the Cosafa Cup quarter-finals, but fell one goal short of matching the record winning margin in the competition.
Seychelles crushed Mauritius 7-0 in the 2008 edition and when Botswana went six goals ahead on 70 minutes, it looked like they could equal or even better that feat.
But the final 20 minutes passed goalless at a chilly Peter Mokaba Stadium in northern city Polokwane, leaving Botswana to celebrate winning Group B in the southern Africa championship.
The other group match, between Angola and Malawi, was played at the same time in Seshego Stadium on the outskirts of Polokwane and ended in a 0-0 stalemate.
Botswana topped the mini-league with seven points from three matches, three-time champions Angola had four, Mauritius three and Malawi two.
The matches marked the end of the group phase and the quarter-finals kick off Saturday with Namibia facing Zambia and Lesotho meeting Swaziland.
On Sunday, Group A winners Madagascar tackle host nation South Africa followed by Botswana against defending champions and record five-time title-holders Zimbabwe.
Apart from Angola and Zimbabwe, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia have won the 21-year-old regional tournament.
Botswana took just three minutes to score against Mauritius with Onkabetse Makgantai punishing hesitation between the Mauritian goalkeeper and a defender.
Karabo Phiri and Thatayaone Kgamanyane scored their first goals for the national team before Kabelo Seakanyeng made it 4-0 with just 27 minutes gone.
More sloppy Mauritian marking allowed Tshepo Maikano to add a fifth goal 10 minutes into the second half after a corner.
When a cross slipped from the grasp of Mauritius goalkeeper James Caseme, Makgantai pounced to complete the rout with his second goal of the match.
Makgantai and Seakanyeng have struck three goals each in the tournament, one less than scorers' chart-topper Luis Miquissone of Mozambique.