Bafana end winless streak
Siphiwe Tshabalala and Teko Modise (Backpagepix)
Nelspruit - Bafana Bafana finally brought their eight-match winless streak to an end with an emphatic 3-0 win over Gabon in an international friendly match at the Mbombela Stadium, in Nelspruit on Friday.
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Controlling the game from the start, Steve Komphela's side were rewarded with goals coming in both halves.
The first was scored from a Siphiwe Tshabalala free-kick just before half-time and Tokelo Rantie doubled the lead after the break.
Mzikayise Mashaba capped off a perfect night, in the 76th minute, for the home side.
The result will also weigh heavily in favour of Komphela as he makes a presentation to the South African Football Association to turn his interim coach role into a full-time contract.
The hosts began the match by dominating possession and creating countless chances.
The first genuine opportunity fell to Reneilwe Letsholonyane in the 15th minute, when he spotted the Gabon keeper off his line.
The midfielder tried to loft the ball into the net but was just long with his attempt.
Bafana employed a far more attacking game-plan, stretching the Gabon defence and Gabon, meanwhile, were starved of the ball and forced to sit back and try and counter the SA attack.
In the 21st minute, Teko Modise came agonisingly close to finding the back of the net. One-on-one with the keeper his shot was well saved by Anthony Mfa, who tipped the ball wide of goal.
The ensuing corner saw Morgan Gould pull off an unmarked header from the near post which bounced just wide of target.
It was then the turn of Tokelo Rantie in the 24th minute. He found himself on the end of a ball inside the area but his powerful strike was rifled into the crowd.
The miss of the match, and perhaps the worst one in recent times was provided by Modise. With 33 minutes gone, he had just the keeper to beat, with acres of space in the box, but his wild shot flew 30 rows back.
A minute later, he had a much more difficult chance which again went wide but the crowd were less than forgiving - calling for his substitution.
In the 40th minute, Rantie made a good run up the middle, and he was just outside the box when he was fouled.
With a goal seemingly unlikely from open play, up stepped Siphiwe Tshabalala for the free-kick in the 42nd minute.
After much deliberation, Tshabalala went ahead with a trademark left-footed curving shot over the wall into the corner of the net, and handed Bafana a 1-0 lead going into the break.
Tshabalala was close to turning provider in the 62nd minute, as he took another free-kick from outside the area. He floated the ball on, and Gould was inches away from making contact before Mfa gathered the ball.
In the 68th minute, Rantie was on the end of a perfect ball behind the Gabon defence and he confidently slotted home to make it 2-0 to Bafana.
Eight minutes later, Mashaba ended the contest with Bafana's third as he poked the ball past the outstretched arms of the Gabon keeper to seal the much-needed win.