South Africa qualified for the Cosafa Cup Plate Final after securing a win on their clash against Madagascar at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Durban on Friday.
Durban – Bafana Bafana survived a late surge from Madagascar to seal 2-1 victory and qualify for the Hollywoodbets Cosafa Cup Plate Final at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium on Friday afternoon.
The host nation opened the scoring when Kaizer Chiefs striker Keletso Sifama finished off a well worked move to score in the 22nd minute.
Chippa United’s Zuko Mdunyelwa played a neat one-two with Chumani Butsaka on the right flank before drilling a low ball across goal before Sifama pounced for his and Bafana’s first goal of the competition.
Following a considerate amount of second half pressure, Chumani Butsaka double the home side’s lead with a well-taken finish in the 85th minute, the 20 year old tuck in from the right before firing past the keeper to give Bafana a 2-0 lead.
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The visitors responded with aplomb and they pulled one back three minutes later through Koloina Razafidranaivo who capitalised off a lapse of concentration in the Bafana box.
Assistant coach Helman Mkhalele kept his core but opted to refresh his starting 11, retaining Lincoln Vyver in goal with captain Keagan Johannes and Athenkosi Mcaba at the heart of the defence.
Butsaka of Cape Town Spurs received his debut while Stellenbosch’s Jayden Adams featured from the start alongside Supersport United’s Selaelo Rasebotja as the two men in the middle.
Although Bafana controlled the majority of the possession, it was Madagascar who provided the greater threat on goal and perhaps should’ve taken the lead in the opening 10 minutes.
Randria Tshieferana was the guilty party as he skyed his effort over the bar after being delightfully played through on goal by Patrick Hansirina.
Mkhalele would have been happy with his side’s overall performance in the opening stanza as they moved the ball around with ease in tight areas and also enforced a well co-ordinated counter press whenever they lost possession, recapturing the ball within five seconds majority of the time.
Bafana, although a squad made up of Under-23 players, received great criticism following their elimination from the championship section of the COSAFA Cup and they looked a side determined to put that right.
SuperSport United’s Thapelo Maseko, who was having a quiet game on the left hand side should have doubled the home side’s lead when he was played through on goal in the 51st minute.
The speedy winger did well to round the goalkeeper but his touch took him too wide to attempt a shot, allowing the defenders to regroup and prevent any chance of him attempting a dangerous pass or shot towards goal.
The wiry winger was deployed in an unfamiliar left wing position in this match and struggled to find the kind of spark he displayed in the opening match and the kind of influence he has on a regular basis when featuring on the right flank.
Bafana will now face the winner between Eswatini and Botswana in the Plate Final on Sunday at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium at 11pm.