Bot­tle-fly­ing start for Bafana

Goal-scorer Jali risks fans’ ire in his­toric World Cup qual­i­fier vic­tory in An­gola

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT - MATSHELANE MAM­ABOLO

An­gola . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(1) 1 Ger­son 2 South Africa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(2) 3 Rantie 14 Gabuza 20 Jali 82 pen A HIS­TORIC vic­tory that has es­sen­tially ren­dered this World Cup qual­i­fy­ing tie a no con­test be­fore Tues­day’s sec­ond leg in Dur­ban was sul­lied by Andile Jali’s send­ing off that pre­empted mis­sile throw­ing on to the field – one of which hit coach Shakes Mashaba on the head as he left the pitch.

On the oc­ca­sion of what was the fi­nal event to mark An­gola’s 40 years of in­de­pen­dence, Bafana Bafana spoilt the cel­e­bra­tions with an em­phatic vic­tory that should see them progress to the fi­nal round of qual­i­fiers for Rus­sia 2018.

Bafana also be­came only the sec­ond coun­try to beat An­gola in their own back­yard in World Cup qual­i­fiers – yes­ter­day’s win ended a run of 25 matches stretch­ing back to the qual­i­fy­ing matches for Italia ’90.

Un­til Jali’s con­ver­sion of a penalty that should never really have been, as Bu­atu looked to have cleared the ball only for ref­eree Bam­lak Tessema to rule he had hacked Tokelo Rantie, the match stood on a knife edge as the hosts searched for an equaliser.

An­gola’s in­vin­ci­bil­ity in home World Cup qual­i­fiers looked to re­main in tact af­ter they took the lead barely 90 sec­onds into the match, a Ger­son shot from the edge of the box beat­ing Jackson Mabokg­wane hands down.

The visi­tors should have scored first, Bafana gifted pos­ses­sion by a poor de­fen­sive pass in the An­golan half. Tham­sanqa Gabuza and Rantie com­bined well only to end up try­ing to walk the ball into the net and fail­ing.

With the par­ti­san An­golan fans cheer­ing the home team on with drum and song, it ap­peared as though the dis­as­ter of Mau­ri­ta­nia was about to be re­vis­ited for South Africa.

But in­stead of drop­ping their heads as they did in that em­bar­rass­ing African Cup of Na­tions de­feat, Bafana worked their way into the game.

They re­stored par­ity just be­fore the quar­ter-hour mark via a sweetly- struck Rantie shot from in­side the box af­ter a good pass from Thabo Matlaba.

The sec­ond goal was swift in ma­te­ri­al­is­ing, Bafana go­ing ahead just six min­utes af­ter equal­is­ing. And just like the first, this one was also the prod­uct of some good wing play – this time from the right.

Mandla Masango threaded a fan­tas­tic grass- cut­ting pass into the path of Gabuza, who sim­ply had to direct the ball past the ad­vanc­ing Do­minique into the far post.

At 2-1 up away from home so early in the game, Bafana looked set for pro­gres­sion into the World Cup qual­i­fiers proper such was their dom­i­nance and An­gola’s poor show­ing.

But Eric Mathoho wasted a glo­ri­ous chance to ren­der the tie over as a con­test when he headed a cor­ner kick straight at the An­gola keeper.

It made for a fas­ci­nat­ing sec­ond half, and An­gola re­turned from the break guns blaz­ing and piled on the pres­sure for so much of the se­cod pe­riod that it was ac­tu­ally a tes­ta­ment to Bafana’s de­fen­sive strength that they held on.

But when the visi­tors pushed for­ward they looked dan­ger­ous and should have been given a penalty when an An­golan de­fender at­tempt­ing a slide clear­ance used his hands to push the ball out, but the ref­eree gave a cor­ner in­stead,

The Ethiopian whistle­man ap­peared to be making up for this er­ror of judge­ment when he gave Bafana a penalty for what seemed a fair tackle. Jali con­verted but he clearly didn’t read the mood of the fans, as he cel­e­brated right in front of the lo­cal crowd with his fin­ger on his mouth.

They re­sponded by pelt­ing him with bot­tles of wa­ter and the ref­eree booked him for a sec­ond time, en­sur­ing a send­ing off for the mid­fielder.

For­tu­nately for Jali, he had de­liv­ered the goal that surely must have turned the tie in the favour of Mashaba’s men ahead of Tues­day’s clash.

ANDILE JALI: Hero and vil­lian

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.