Brave Bafana settle for draw with Nigeria

2014-09-10 22:26

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A gallant Bafana Bafana dropped to second spot in their group after a goalless draw with Nigeria in the 2015 Morocco Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at the Cape Town stadium.

The result means Congo Brazzaville top the group after their 2-0 victory over Sudan earlier in the day.

Bafana have now collected four points in their opening two matches while Congo have six. Nigeria are third on a single point with Sudan languishing at the bottom with no points.

But Bafana should have done better and collected maximum points as they had Nigeria on the back foot but failed to convert their chances.

Tokelo Rantie, in particular, had glorious chances of putting his name on the score sheet after coming on as a half-time substitute but he seemed to have left his scoring boots in the dressing room.

Bafana’s undoing was playing too many touches in the box which allowed the visitors to regroup and thwart their efforts. But it was a good outing for Bafana against their hoodoo team, whom they had never beaten in an official game.

The Super Eagles have always had the better of Bafana but not this time as Shakes Mashaba’s young side exerted itself very well and deserved the accolades.

It was a good overall performance by Bafana, who, on another day, would have walked away with victory.

Mashaba’s team's next outing is a meeting with leaders Congo next month.

The game started at a high pace, just what the supporters who had braved the chilly weather conditions needed to keep warm as action swung from one end to the other.

Bafana would have been disappointed not to be in the lead at the interval as they created numerous scoring opportunities but failed to bury them.

Oupa Manyisa, who was deployed on the left wing, missed an excellent chance to put the home side ahead when his effort was blocked on the line by a Nigerian defender.

Last week’s two-goal hero Sibusiso Vilakazi was a constant thorn in the Super Eagles' defence as he tore them apart on more than one occasion, but his teammates let him down in front of goal.

It was not just a one-way traffic as the visitors slowly clawed their way back into the game after absorbing the early pressure, but they found the Bafana rearguard in an uncompromising mood.

Nigeria forced the first corner of the game but Bafana easily dealt with it. In fact the Super Eagles wanted to catch Bafana on set pieces with their physically-imposing players but Bafana managed to deal with them.

Bafana’s heart of midfield, which comprised of the hard-working Dean Furman and the industrious Andile Jali, gave nothing away as they protected their defence.

In the end the two teams had to settle for a draw, leaving the supporters fairly happy at the display.

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