South Africa U23 beat Uganda in COSAFA Plate Semifinals
South Africa show their mental strength as they come from behind to beat Uganda 4-2 on penalties and book their place in the COSAFA Plate Final on Friday, 07 June 2019 at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Mondli Mpoto announced his name to the tough encounter early into the game as he produced a well composed save in the 8th minute from an adventurous long range shot.
Moments later Mpoto and his defence had to stand their ground when a scramble near the goal line almost led to a goal. The Bloemfontein Celtic minder stood his ground and cleared the ball amid pressure industrious Ugandan forward Dan Serunkuma.
South Africa were forced into an early substitution when an injured Bongani Sam had to make way for Jaimie Webber 10 minutes into play.
In the 15th minute Thendu Mukumela fired in a well hit left-footed strike which was spilt by the goalkeeper which resulted into a corner.
Webber’s header struck the upright moments afterwards. The Ugandan keeper, Charles Lukwago was constantly being exposed by the South African attack with shots being fired at which the Cranes minder had trouble dealing with.
In the 22nd minute Sipho Mbule dummied the defence nicely to set himself up for a shot on goal after dribbling past on coming defenders, however his shot flew over the goal.
South Africa were almost punished when Teboho Mokoena was snubbed off the ball by Muzamiru Mutyaba in the 28th minute. The ball then fell onto Charles Lukwago who ballooned his shot over Mpoto’s goal amid strong pressure from Mukumela from the right back position.
Man of the Match, Luther Singh used his composure to force a curling shot towards goal after smoothly riding past on coming bodies from the Ugandan defence.
David Notoane’s bench introduced Jemondre Dickens replaced in Sipho Mbule’s place.
The Cranes scored found took the lead when Dan Serunkuma scored with a right footed shot from inside the box with just a minute into play into the second half.
The pride of Mzansi immediately turned on the charm as they went searching for the equalizer following the breach.
Substitute Webber later thought he’d succeeded when he brilliantly turned his man outside of the box, which he followed up with a strong right footed shot but it failed to trouble the keeper.
Mpoto produced two thrilling saves to deny the Ugandanians the second goal in the 54th minute as he put his body on the line keep the score level on two consecutive occasions. The heroics seemed to inspire his teammates.
Singh again struck a powerfully delivered shot towards goal which unluckily got saved by the keeper two minutes later.
A mistake in defence almost cost South Africa as Sandile Mthethwa got put under pressure by the Cranes’ attack who moments later threatened Mpoto’s goal but Mthethwa recovered well to win the ball back with help from Mpoto in the 60th minute.
Jamie Webber was unlucky not to make the perfect connection with a header after a glorious cross from Luther Singh from down the right flank.
The miss was quickly forgiven when Singh eventually found the equalizer Singh with a potent right foot shot which beat the Ugandan keeper he after was played onside by the defence.
Final substitution from South Africa saw Kamohelo Mahlatsi making way for Kaogelo Segkota who seemed to immediately spring into life down the flank as he troubled Uganda from the onset.
Mondli Mpoto took his heroics into the penalty spot kicks as he pulled off two consecutive saves to gift South Africa with an early advantage to enable a 4-2 win over the Cranes.
The penalties were scored by Luther Singh, Gift Links, Thendu Mukumela and Jaimie Webber.