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Football | Bafana Bafana

Mandla Masango and Jabulani Shongwe © Backpagepix

Bafana claim bronze in Cosafa Cup

Hlompho Kekana scored the decisive goal and Wayne Sandilands saved a penalty as South Africa finished in third place in the Cosafa Cup with their 2-1 win over Lesotho on Saturday afternoon in Ndola.

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A 20th minute penalty by Maile Tlali put Lesotho in the lead, but Bafana Bafana responded with goals on either side of the break to claim the victory.

South Africa and Lesotho came into the game ready to put it all on the line one last time as they contested for the bronze medal.

Both teams narrowly missed out on a spot in the final when Bafana lost 5-3 to hosts Zambia in the semifinal on Wednesday evening, while Lesotho were defeated 2-1 by the defending champions Zimbabwe.

The Crocodiles got the game off to a cautious start as Gordon Igesund’s men dictated the tempo with their possession of the ball in the opening 15 minutes of the game.

However, it was Lesotho who managed to grab the lead five minutes later when they were awarded a penalty for a tug in the box. Maile Tlali converted with ease by sending Wanye Sandilands the wrong direction as they made it 1-0 against the run of play.

Lebogang Manyama almost responded immediately with his shot which glanced narrowly wide at the far post, while Lerato Chabangu’s dipping shot in the 34th minute narrowly missed the goal.

Tlali turned from goal scorer to defender when he denied Mandla Masango six minutes later. He cleared the Kaizer Chiefs man’s strike off the line following a great pull-back by Chanbangu.

Masango made up for it in the 43rd minute when he received the ball off a corner. There was a scramble in the box but he managed to slice a low ball into the back of the net.

Then, in the 53rd minute, it turned 2-1 in favour of South Africa when Hlompho Kekana left everyone stunned with his goal which was a mixture of poor goalkeeping and luck.

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The Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder struck a cross-cum shot from a yard off the byline. It rolled under Phasumane Kholuoe and struck the post before rolling into the back of the net.

Despite the lead, the game was still delicately poised and South Africa learnt just how delicate it was when they suffered a scare after a second penalty was awarded to Lesotho.

Sandilands, however, made amends for failing to get a hand on the first penalty when he pushed Tlali’s second spot kick at the post, preventing the score line from becoming 2-2 in the 70th minute.

Lesotho came out itching for another late equaliser, but there was little they could do as Bafana managed to contain their adversaries attack to win the match 2-1.

South Africa (1) 2 (Masango 43’, Kekana 53’)

Lesotho (1) 1 (Tlali 21’ pen)

Teams: South Africa: Sandilands, Gumede, Hlatshawyo, Kekana, Mkhwanazi, Chabangu (Msomi 59’), Masango (Mthembu 77’), Manyama, Shongwe, Mashaba, Nonyane (Manqele 46’)

Lesotho: Kholuoe, Ralekoti, Tlali, Janefeke (Poloane 74’), Tale (Ramabele 63’), Moleko, Tsoanelo, Masualle, Moletsane, Kamela, Lerotholi


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