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Bafana Win Cosafa Cup After Penalty Shootout

 It took 120 minutes and a penalty shootout but Bafana Bafana are Cosafa Cup champions after beating Senegal in the final at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Gqeberha on Sunday.

Captain Veli Mothwa took and saved a penalty in the 5-4 penalty shootout. Bafana did not concede a goal in open play in six matches, with Mothwa having five clean sheets.

Siyethemba Sithebe was named player of the tournament.

Mothwa was named goalkeeper of the tournament, while Victor Letsoalo won the golden boot.

It was the fifth Cosafa Cup won by South Africa. Senegal were a guest nation at this year’s competition.

It was a steady start to the game for Bafana, who took control of the possession early on. Morena Ramoreboli, who must be commended for his role as stand-in Bafana coach, showed consistency in his selection and started the same eleven that had beaten Lesotho in the group stages, as well as Mozambique in the semi-finals. 

But the first shot on goal would come from the Senegalese in the 15th minute, though Mohammed Ba’s header was off target.

Yusuf Maart had a chance at the other end in the 17th minute, but Papa Ndiaye saved comfortably. Veli Mothwa was called into action a few seconds later, though it was a routine save for the Bafana captain, from a tame header.

The top goalscorer at the tournament, Victor Letsoalo, had a chance in the 25th minute, but his header from a long throw from Maart went over the goal. Three minutes later, Letsoalo had another chance, but the angle was too acute and his shot went into the side-netting.

In the 38th minute, Bafana were awarded a free kick not too far outside the box, but Maart’s attempt hit the wall, and his follow up shot flew over the goal.Two minutes later the Lions of Teranga had a chance from the first corner of the game, but Ba’s header was cleared off the line by Nyiko Mobbie.

Senegal’s coach Joseph Koto was sent to the stands just before halftime for something he said, and at halftime it remained goalless in Gqeberha.

Siyethemba Sithebe tried from long range in the 49th minute, but the AmaZulu midfielder’s shot flew over the goal.

Bafana thought they had a penalty in the 53rd minute but despite the ball clearly striking Woula Sane’s arm at the side of his body, the referee waved play on, much to the annoyance of the South Africans.

Monnapule Saleng did some good work down the right in the 58th minute, but after beating his defender and breaking into the box, Ndiaye got down well to stop his cross. Ba tried a snap in the 69th minute, but Mothwa got down well at the near post to deny him. A minute later Ndiaye got down well to save a shot from Njabulo Ngcobo.

Ndiaye need to be alert in the 74th minute, as he made a good save to deny substitute Thabang Sibanyoni, while Mothwa had to make a save at the other end a minute later. Rushine De Reuck shot over in the 79th minute as the match remained goalless. A last ditch tackle a minute later denied Sibanyoni a chance, after the striker almost took advantage of a defensive error from the Senegalese. 

South Africa were awarded a dangerous free kick deep into stoppage time, which incensed the Senegalese. Substitute Lebohang Maboe’s effort though hit the wall and was saved by Ndiaye, and with no decider in the 90 minutes, the final went to extra time.

Sibanyoni had a chance in the first minute of extra time, but he couldn’t control and shot over. He was on target in the 97th minute, but his header was easily dealt with by Ndiaye. De Reuck headed over from a corner in the 102nd minute, but it remained goalless at half-time in extra time.

Another substitute Kagiso Malinga shot over in the 24th minute, and then shot wide from a free kick in the 27th minute, as the match looked to be heading to a penalty shootout decider.

And it was penalties that would decide who would raise the cup.

Bafana’s only previous win over Senegal was in 2015 in a 1-0 win in an international friendly.

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