Bafana through to Cosafa Cup semifinals

2013-07-14 14:00

South Africa secured a semifinal spot in the Cosafa Cup after beating Namibia 2-1 at Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka, Zambia, and set up a potential clash with the hosts, who play Mozambique in Kitwe today.

Goals from Jabulani Shongwe and Hlompho Kekana gave Bafana Bafana a deserved win over their long-time regional rivals.

Namibia goalie Virgill Vries failed to deal with a long-range Shongwe speculative effort in the 48th minute to open the score for the 2006 champions.

The Brave Warriors started the stronger of the two sides, with Phineas Jakob coming close in the 15th minute.

His effort was well dealt with by South African keeper Wayne Sandilands.

A minute later, Bafana pushed forward, with Edward Manqele skying his effort as Bafana started to dictate play.

There was more goalmouth action with Thulani Hlatshwayo’s long-range effort parried away by an under-fire Vries, whom the South Africans seemed to sense was nervous.

But Namibia were not giving up, and Petrus Shitembi had his chance at goal, which an alert Sandilands ably dealt with.

With the pressure piling up, Namibia were relieved to go into the break tied at 0-0.

Meanwhile, the pressure continued building on the Namibians and in the 33rd minute, Sibusiso Msomi forced a brilliant save from Vries who conceded a corner.

In the second half, South Africa coach Gordon Igesund withdrew Tshepo Gumede for Shongwe, who had an instant impact, unleashing a long-range effort that was speculative but beat Vries to set South Africa on their way to the semifinals.

But before Bafana could settle into celebratory mode, Mzikayise Mashaba was booked for a wreckless challenge on Sydney Urikhob.

As the game wore on, Namibia coach Ricardo Manetti made a double substitution and brought in Willie Stepahanus and Deon Hotto in the 60th minute to breathe life into the attack. But it was South Africa that continued to dominate.

Igesund’s stars shone brighter in the 64th minute, when Hlompho Kekana took advantage of a lapse in the Dacosta Angula back line to poke the ball home and take the tally to 2-0.

Namibia were given a lifeline in the 73rd minute after Lerato Chabangu handled in the box and the referee pointed to the spot.

Stephanus stepped up to take the penalty, but his initial effort was saved by Sandilands.

The goalie had moved off his line with the referee ordering a retake and the Namibia player made no mistake on his second attempt.

The win means South Africa will have to wait for the winner between hosts Zambia and Mozambique for their semifinal encounter.

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