Winning start for Mashaba

2014-09-06 00:00

SIBUSISO Vilakazi scored twice early in the second half to hand South Africa an impressive 3-0 away win over Sudan in a 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at the Al Merreikh Stadium last night.

The result sees new Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba begin his second tenure in charge of the national team with a deserved victory, and one that puts South Africa at the top of the Group A standings ahead of a match between Nigeria and Congo today.

Mashaba opted for an attacking line-up that saw goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa installed as captain, while Keagan Dolly and Bongani Ndulula made their national team debuts.

Sudan threatened from a couple of early corner kicks and tall defender Balla Jabir should have done better when presented with a free header as early as the seventh minute.

However, the best chance of the first half fell to Tokelo Rantie in the ninth minute. Bongani Ndulula’s cross from the right was dropped by goalkeeper Moez Mahjoub, but Rantie was unable to turn home the loose ball from close range.

Just past the quarter-hour mark South Africa needed Meyiwa to make two fine saves, with the second a particularly notable redirection of a long range shot to clear the crossbar for a corner-kick.

Rantie was replaced early in the second half by Sibusiso Vilakazi. At the time it seemed a defensive move from coach Shakes Mashaba, but “Vila” vindicated his decision with his first two goals for his country.

The Bidvest Wits number 10 opened the scoring in the 55th minute, poking home from close range after Erick Mathoho’s goal-bound header from a corner kick was cleared off the line by a defender.

Just past the hour mark Vilakazi made it 2-0, cleverly opening up space for a shot with a neat dummy before cracking the ball into the top corner from just inside the box.

On 66 minutes, Vilakazi unselfishly spurned the chance for a hat-trick by teeing up Mandla Masango when well-placed, but the Kaizer Chiefs winger was unable to control the ball on the tricky pitch.

With just over 10 minutes to play, substitute Oupa Manyisa created the third goal, getting past the Sudanese right-back before playing a perfect cross for Bongani Ndulula to score from close range on debut.

Mohamed Tahir almost pulled one back for the Falcons of Jediane in the 85th minute, but his powerful header rebounded off the upright with Meyiwa well beaten.

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