Bafana beat Zambia in AFCON warm-up

Bafana Bafana rounded off their preparations for Equatorial Guinea AFCON 2015 with a hard fought 1-0 win over fellow AFCON participants Zambia at a sweltering Orlando Stadium on Sunday afternoon.


The hero of the afternoon was second half substitute Thuso Phala who sent a good crowd in raptures late into the second half. And with a bit of some luck, Phala could have completed a rare double had he not hurried his shot moments after giving Bafana Bafana the lead.


The win preserves Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba’s unbeaten run since taking over the Bafana job and will go the Equatorial Guinea with lots of confidence.


On a sunny afternoon at Orlando, both teams started tentatively with little goal mouth action. Maybe the scorching sun might have had an effect on both sides as players tried to preserve energy.


Chipolopolo were the first to apply pressure but without creating really threatening situations. It was Bafana Bafana who had a clear opening in the 17th minute when Thabo Matlaba crossed from the left but both Tokelo Rantie and Bongani Ndulula failed to connect.


Zambia captain Rainford Kalaba then whipped in a dangerous cross but Bafana managed to clear the danger.


In the 33rd minute, Matlaba missed following a good cross from Oupa Manyisa as the match failed to live up to its top billing.


Zambia goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene was then forced off the pitch after colliding with his player during a goalmouth melee during referee’s optional time in the first half.


The two sides looked reinvigorated in the second half as temperatures dropped a bit but creativity still looked missing from both sides.


Captain on the day Anele Ngcongca was then foiled by Zambian substitute keeper Danny Munyao when he was face to face with the last man in the line of defence.


As chances started to come thick and fast, Erick Mathoho denied Jackson Mwanza who had out-sprinted the Bafana Bafana defence with a brilliantly well-timed tackle inside the box.


Mwanza again failed to punish Bafana following a rare defensive error by Mathoho.


Thuso Phala on the other end got the better of the Zambia defence but his angled shot failed to trouble the visitors’ keeper.


Then came the moment of the day – Phala found acres of space inside the box in the 81st min after the Zambian defence had been pierced through before ferociously firing past Munyao.


It could have been 2-0 moments later but Phala failed to connect when it looked easier to score after Zambia had been caught on a break.


Zwane thought he had made it 2-0 but the Swazi referee ruled the strike off side as Bafana Bafana turned on the heat late into the game.


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