Bafana bury Mauritius
Bafana Bafana completed a double over Mauritius beating the Indian Ocean islanders 2-0 in this CHAN return leg match played at Anjalay Stadium on a humid Sunday afternoon.
Having lost 3-0 in the first leg, Mandla Masango’s low free kick in the 68th minute and a late goal by Wandisile Letlabika consigned the islanders to a comprehensive 5-0 aggregate defeat.
Bafana Bafana will now play Angola for a place in the CHAN finals scheduled for Rwanda next year. Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba’s boys started brightly in the opening minutes, buoyed by a considerable support from the South African embassy staff, pinning the hosts in their own half.
Gift Motupa with a fierce free kick in the 14th minute was the first to really test the hosts and Mandla Masango followed up with another sizzling shot on the 20th minute but on both occasions, Mauritius survived.
Siphelele Ntshangase then blasted over the bar in the 23rd minute from inside the box from a William Twala cross as Bafana Bafana continued to probe the hosts’ goal area. Masango was proving a thorn in the flesh for Mauritius orchestrating most of the Bafana Bafana moves.
Captain Itumeleng Khune then rushed off his line in the 35th minute in one of Mauritius rare attacks. Another string of passes produced another delicate chance but Masango’s final product was not good enough to trouble the Mauritius goal-minder on the 40th min.
The hosts immediately manufactured their own attack but Khune was at his best foiling Kevin Jean Louis. Ntshangase then rifled a close effort tantalisingly wide as the match headed for half-time deadlocked at 0-0.
Mauritius survived a major scare when Gabuza went on a run on the right flank and his cross was almost turned into an own goal by the Mauritius defence as the referee blew for half-time whistle.
The second half followed more or less the first half pattern with South Africa showing more intent and Mauritius relying on sporadic counter-attacks. Nyatama made a maze run a few minutes after the break but was foiled when he was about to open fire.
Letlabika then made a great cross inside the box from a good Ntshangase run but Mauritius defence again cleared the danger. In another rare Mauritius attack, Vincent Lafourde outpaced Kwanda Mngonyama but his effort went wide of the diving Khune.
Bafana Bafana’s William Twala saw his effort come off the cross bar as the hosts survived again before Nyatama’s vicious effort was saved by Mauritius keeper.
Mandla Masango’s close range effort was again parried back by the outstanding Mauritius goalkeeper as the visitors continued to chase for what appeared an elusive opening goal. It was not long though before Bafana Bafana got the opening goal in the 68th minute when Masango’s shot from a free-kick, awarded just outside the box, was helped into an own net by the Mauritius defender to give the visitors a deserved goal.
Letlabika then made it 2-0 towards the end of the match following a delicate build up by Bafana.