Young SA side beaten on penalties by Botswana
A young South Africa side comprising of almost an u23 side preparing for the Olympics, blew up a two-goal lead to eventually lose 5-4 on penalties against a full strength Botswana side in the COSAFA Cup quarter-final clash at Princess Magogo Stadium on Sunday, 2 June 2019.
David Notoane’s charges made up of mostly U23 players conceded a late header on referee’s optional time after they had gone into the first half break with a good 2-0 lead.
South Africa took the lead 19 minutes into play when Luther Singh beat the offside trap to coolly slot past Botswana keeper Ezekiel Morake.
It had taken Bafana Bafana sometime to kick into rhythm and when they finally did, they played some enterprising football.
Notoane’s side could have been 2-0 by the 23rd minute when Athenkosi Dlala was brought down on the edge of the box and Singh’s dipping free kick narrowly went over the bar.
Grant Margeman then extended the lead for the South Africa side in the 28th minute when he thumped a right footed shot near the edge of the box which beat the Botswana keeper after a brilliant assist by the outstanding Athenkosi Dlala.
Reyaad Pieterse was called onto save some dangerous shots in some parts of the match to protect Bafana’s lead.
The second half saw the Zebras launching direct balls into the Bafana Bafana half of play, very much taking advantage of their superiority in the air.
They got their reward in the 60th minute when Lebogang Ditsele scored a header to gain a well-timed lifeline.
Enterprising runs from Margeman, Kamohelo Mahlatsi and Teboho Mokoena for South Africa on occasion kept the visitors just as troubled in certain moments but lack of experience was to come back and haunt the youngsters.
With the last kick of the day, Botswana equalized with less than 30 seconds of the referee’s optional time when Katlego Ditsele used his aerial superiority against captain Tercious Malepe and Sandile Mthethwa to head past Reyaad Pieterse.
The dramatic equalizer meant it was left to the nerve wrecking penalty route to gain a win but it wasn’t to be. South Africa lost 5-4 as man of the match, Teboho Mokoena unluckily saw his spot kick saved.