Durban - Siyabonga Sangweni equalised for Bafana
Bafana with less than five minutes left on Sunday as the Africa Cup
of Nations hosts booked their place in the tournament quarter-finals for the
first time in more than a decade with a 2-2 draw against Morocco.
"It was a very tough game out there
tonight," said Bafana coach Gordon Igesund.
"We did what we had to do and achieved
our first objective. The next 20 hours we're just going to relax. We can now
look forward to our next game.
VIDEO: Bafana v Morocco, highlights
"I'm very proud of the team. I feel
very proud because South Africa will also feel very proud."
Issam El Adoua fired the north Africans in
front after a 10th minute Itumeleng Khune error, before May Mahlangu equalised
with an exquisitely curled effort into the top corner with less than 20 minutes
Substitute Abdelilah Hafidi then restored
Morocco's advantage in the 82nd minute, before Orlando Pirates defender
Sangweni netted his second goal of the tournament, bending in to the far post,
to clinch a share of the points.
Khune also turned from villain to hero as
the game progressed, twice saving one-on-one chances from the Atlas Lions.
The result and single point turned out to
be a vital one as Cape Verde Islands beat Angola 2-1 in a simultaneous pool
match and a defeat would have but have put Igesund's men out of the tournament.
However, they showed incredible fighting
spirit in front of a capacity 50 000 crowd at the Moses Mabhida Stadium and
will now remain in Durban for their last eight encounter against the Group B
The Moroccans, desperate for victory, made
a fast start to the game as Youssef Kaddioui and Youssef El-Arabi came close,
the latter's shot forcing keeper Khune to save at his feet.
At the other end, Tokelo Rantie, a player that
passed a late fitness test, had a strong penalty shout against defender Adil
Hermach, but Gambian referee Bakary Gassama waved play on.
Meanwhile, Morocco continued to venture
forward with intent and it took a last-ditch challenge from Dean Furman to deny
From the ensuing corner on the left, the
same visiting midfielder delivered to the centre of the penalty area where El
Adoua headed in after Khune recklessly raced off his line.
The Kaizer Chiefs captain was again almost
caught out in the 20th minute, but somehow managed to dig the ball out after
Chahir Belghazouani shot from the left with Rachid Taoussi's men completely
The noisy home crowd were trying their best
to get South Africa going and the forwards finally responded in the 27th minute
when Mahlangu and Thuso Phala combined to play in Bernard Parker, but the
striker flashed his shot across the face of goal.
Rantie then showed a good burst of speed as
he raced away down the left, but as with previous Bafana Bafana attacks,
decision making in the final third was poor as another potential opportunity
In the final minute of the half, Khune did
well to make up for his earlier error when he raced off his line to keep out
Kamel Chafni, who was one-on-one with the goalkeeper, to keep it 1-0 at the
After the restart, Morocco goalkeeper Nadir
Lamyaghri was finally forced into a first real save in the 53rd minute when
Phala's free-kick from the left bent toward the left corner, only for the ball
to be scrambled away for a corner.
An error from Sangweni then allowed
El-Arabi a clear one-on-one chance, but Khune stuck out his arm at the last
minute to keep out the striker.
Phala again illustrated his threat with
set-pieces when he forced the Moroccan custodian to dissect wide with a dipping
free-kick that skidded off the wet surface.
But Lamyaghri could do nothing about South
Africa's equaliser after Mahlangu was set up by the slick Rantie.
The crowd celebrated the moment, but they
were stunned into silence once again when the Atlas Lions retook the lead via
Hafidi, who controlled with his chest inside the box and fired low past Khune.
With three minutes to go, Sangweni ventured
forward and showed his instinct for goal when he opted to shoot instead of
pass, curling low past Lamyaghri from the edge of the area.
That proved the final chance as the hosts
burst into a frenzy on the full-time whistle.
South Africa, who last reached the AFCON
quarter-finals at the 2002 tournament in Mali, finished top of Group A. They will
face the Group B runners-up at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday.
Debutants Cape Verde Islands finished
second in the group. They will play the Group B winners in Port Elizabeth in
the next round.
Morocco and Angola were eliminated from the