Bafana bamboozle Mambas

2014-01-11 23:00

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Parker and Kekana give the hosts the ideal start to Chan

Bafana Bafana made an easy game harder when they were made to dig deeper for their victory over a hapless Mozambique.

But opening the African Nations Championship with a victory should inspire to do more going forward.

They next play Mali on Wednesday before closing the group with a much-anticipated clash against Nigeria next Sunday.

But should have been an easy walk in the park turned out to be a hard mission for the host, but at the end were worthy of their victory through Bernard Parker’s brace and an incredible goal from Hlompho Kekana.

Kekana’s goal in the 58th minute should be a contender of the goal of the tournament even with more games to go.

It was not a polished performance from the hosts as they should and have done better than the 3-1 victory as the Mambas were there for the taking and didn’t offer much resistance.

Except for the deflected first half goal, Itumeng Khune had an off afternoon as he was never troubled by the visitors.

It was on the other side of the pitch where Bafana should have done much better as they had chances to increase the score line and bury their neighbours.

Mozambique had never beaten Bafana in four attempts and this was not going to change judging by their offering.

Even Bafana coach Gordon Igesund gave three players – Thato Mokeke, Lindokuhle Mbatha and Asavela Mbekile – their first national caps and the trio did not disappoint in their first outing in national colours.

Preceded by a world-class opening ceremony which included Mi Casa and Jimmy Dludlu, which was unfortunately done in front of an empty stadium, one would have expected a more convincing offering from the home side.

The Mambas struck first as Bafana were caught off guard by a rare Mozambique attack in the 14th minute after Thabo Nthethe’s mistimed tackle ended on the path of Apsone Sonito, who released Diego Alberto to score the opening goal.

Khune had the ball covered by a slight deflection from Thato Mokeke sent the Bafana goalkeeper the wrong way.

This was the wake-up call Bafana needed to up their game as they started attacking relentlessly searching for the equaliser.

They played neat interpasses in the middle of the park but were potent in front of goals. However, they did managed to get on the score sheet after they were awarded a dubious penalty kick.

Egyptian referee Ghead Grisha pointed to the spot after Sibusiso Vilakazi went down in the box, the decision which left Mozambicans seething with anger.

Parker stepped up to notch his 20th goal in 65 Bafana appearances. It was game on as Bafana pushed forward and Katlego Mashego was unfortunate to see his attempt hitting the pole.

Bafana increased their tempo in the second half and Parker was still a menace to the visitors.

Mashego was again unlucky not to score after being put through by Parker a minute after restart but goalkeeper Soares thwarted his attempt.

Then the Kekana moment arrived out of nowhere.

The Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder was given ample space in the middle of the park and unleashed an unstoppable shot to put Bafana in the lead before Parker put the final nail in the coffin.

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