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Bafana Held By Mozambique In COSAFA Opener

Bafana Bafana began their COSAFA Cup campaign on Wednesday with a 1-1 draw against Mozambique at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Gqeberha.

Helman Mkhalele selected a team which was captained by Cape Town Spurs’ defender Rushwin Dortley and featured seven debutants in the starting XI.

But despite the lack of experience Bafana will be disappointed not have to picked up all three points.

It was an encouraging start for the young South African team, and after a few early attacks, Asanele Velebayi’s header hit the upright in the third minute. Two minutes later Thabang Sibanyoni went just wide. Velebayi tried from range in the 10th minute and his well-struck effort forced a save from Acacio Muendane.

It was an opening twenty minutes that saw almost all action in the Mozambican half, as Bafana looked to unlock the Mambas’ defence. Mondli Mpoto was finally called into action in the 25th minute when Dario Melo tried to catch the goalkeeper off his line with an ambitious long-range chip, but the Royal AM shot-stopper managed to get back in time to glove it behind.  

Sibanyoni went close again three minutes later, but his headed attempt from a corner hit the side netting.

Muendane made a big save in the 34th minute to deny Sibanyoni from close range but could do nothing to stop Dortley’s goal four minutes later as Ethan Brooks’ pass found the Bafana captain who made no mistake with a composed finish.

At the half-time break, it was 1-0 to South Africa.

Mozambique had an early second-half chance to equalise but Jose Valipavai’s 50th-minute shot went over after a good swift attack. Moments later Mpoto had to make a good save to stop a dangerous incursion into the box.

It was a good spell for the Mambas and Jeremiah Nhambire’s header went wide from a corner in the 57th minute.

Dortley almost got his second two minutes later, but his headed attempt from a set piece went narrowly over the crossbar.

The Mambas drew level through a well-struck low long-range effort from Chamito Alfandega that beat a diving Mpoto in the 65th minute.

Sinoxolo Kwayiba was unable to find the target in the 70th minute, nor was Malebogo Modise who shot wide four minutes later. Substitute Keanu Cupido skied an effort in the 78th minute.

Another off the bench, Jaedin Rhodes, was on target in the 82nd minute but Muendane got down to make the save. Keanu Cupido shot wide four minutes later from a corner situation.

Kwayiba was off target again in the 89th minute, before a last-ditch tackle by Ossama Pedro denied Kwayiba another chance two minutes later.

But despite the late pressure, Mozambique kept their shape at the back and it ended 1-1.

iDiski Times
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