Bafana Bafana couldn’t find the back of the net as they were held to a goalless draw by a resolute eSwatini in an international friendly at the FNB Stadium on Friday evening.
Unsurprisingly, Hugo Broos’ team took charge of the possession and controlled the tempo from the offset.
Some good interplay led to an early chance for Themba Zwane, but with just the goalkeeper to beat, his fifth-minute effort lacked power and failed to trouble Khanyakwezwe Shabalala in the eSwatini goal.
Possession was almost exclusively with Bafana and over 80% of the action was happening in their opponents’ half, however, the next real chance only came in the 19th minute, but Mihlali Mayambela’s attempt from outside the area went straight at Shabalala.
Lyle Foster, who has been in scoring form for his club Burnley in England, attempted a snap-shot in the 25th minute, but he couldn’t keep it down and it flew high and wide. Two minutes later, Foster had another opportunity, but his first-time shot went over.
Khanyisa Mayo’s 28th-minute chance was on target, but struck too gently to trouble Shabalala.
Apart from having to deal with a cross at the half-hour mark, Veli Mothwa was pretty much a spectator in the first half, as the AmaZulu goalkeeper won his ninth cap.
Meanwhile, Shabalala was back in action in the 35th minute as he got down to stop Nyiko Mobbie’s well-struck long-range chance.
Mcolisi Mkhontfo had eSwatini’s best chance of the half in the 41st minute as he shot unmarked from the edge of the area, but Mothwa watched as it flew safely over.
Mayambela went close in the 43rd minute after he was gifted the ball from a poor pass from Shabalala, but his attempt from 30 yards out went just left of the upright.
At the break despite Bafana’s dominance, it would be Dominic Kunene’s team who would go into the tunnel happier, with the scoreline still goalless.
The second half started in a similar manner and Njabulo Blom had a good chance in the 48th minute, but put too much power into his curling effort, and it flew over.
Happy to pick up the crumbs on the counter, four minutes later the visitors had a rare spell in the Bafana final third, after Philani Mkhontfo’s attempt from the right was deflected wide.
Mduduzi Mdantsane came off the bench and had a chance in the 55th minute, but it was another effort with little power and directly at Shabalala.
Bafana were starting to create more chances, and really should have been in front in the 62nd minute. Aubrey Modiba’s cross flashed across the goal and was missed by two players before Mayo gathered, only to shoot over.
Mcolisi Mkhontfo had another chance in the 73rd minute, this time from a free kick, but it was comfortably saved by Mothwa.
There was another missed opportunity for Bafana from a set piece in the 76th minute, as eSwatini cleared the danger, and with time ticking running out it looked like scoring was not on the cards for this fixture.
There were a few late chances for both teams, with the visitors almost catching Bafana at the death, but it ended goalless when the referee blew the final whistle.
Bafana now travel to the Ivory Coast where they will play their second friendly of the international break on Tuesday night.