South Africa 0 (0)
Tanzania 1 (1)
SOUTH AFRICA failed to progress to the semi-finals of the Cosafa Cup, following a 1-0 defeat an the hands of Tanzania at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium last night.
The result means the defending champions will be demoted to the Cosafa Plate semi-finals, were they’ll hope to produce the desired result to see them through that final.
In the first period, after scoring an opener just 18 minutes into the game, Tanzania opted to play the waiting game, adding numbers in their
defence, while waiting to catch their opponents on a counter in search of a second.
That strategy implemented by the Tanzanian side proved to be extremely frustrating for Bafana Bafana’s head coach Stuart Baxter, who himself is very good in that style of play.
Out there on the field, Baxter’s players struggled massively to connect with their passes, especially in the final third. At most times, they were forced to almost desperately hoof the ball forward in an attempt to reach Judas Moseamedi as their last man up front.
But each time they did that, the opposition’s defence was well positioned to close the towering striker down. Moseamedi was starved of room to take those deadly shots he’s well known for.
Tanzania’s goal came through their striker Elias Maguri who struck a powerful shot inside the 18-yard area, after receiving a sweet pass from the heart of midfield, to beat SuperSport United’s third-choice shot-stopper Boafela Pule between the sticks.
Bafana’s loss could be credited to the fact that Baxter’s line-up was made up of eight débutantes, who were roped in to be given senior national team experience, with the likes of Lebogang Phiri and Mandla Masango not being released by the respective European clubs to play in this competition.
In the second period, South Africa huffed and puffed, but couldn’t break their opposition’s wall down in that vital final third.
One of the clear chances they had towards goal came in the 67th minute when Webber whipped in a clean cross in search of the on-rushing Cole Alexandra inside the 16-yard box.
The attacking midfielder, however, failed to connect with his attempted back-heel, as the ball went past him.