Mbombela - Bafana Bafana comfortably beat Ivory Coast 2-0 in the Nelson Mandela Challenge at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Sunday.
South Africa’s goals came from Bongani Zungu and David Zulu in a match the home side dominated as Ivory Coast coach Herve Renard declared after the game; “South Africa were faster than us and better than us in every area...well done!”
South Africa started well and had the ball in the back of the net in just the 2nd minute when Vuyisile Wana ran onto a Bongani Zungu through ball and crossed to Puleng Tlolane, who netted from close range.
The assistant referee, however, called for offside when TV replays showed that it was tight and most probably that Bafana's goal should have stood.
Then, in the 8th minute Vuyisile Wana, the Moroka Swallows livewire, cut inside from the left wing and took a long range shot only to see the ball fly wildly over the bar.
Two minutes later David Zulu and Tlolane linked up well and looked threatening, but the final touch was lacking.
In the 28th minute Wana again got into space down the left wing and created problems with his pace and power, but he decided to have a crack at goal with his left foot from a tight angle and got it horribly wrong.
But then three minutes later Bafana took the lead after several passes in and around the opponents’ danger area. Left back Patrick Phungwayo was right up in the action and supplied the pass to Bongani Zungu who buried his shot across goal from the right side of the 18 area.
Themba Zwane came close to a second goal just before halftime when he chased a long ball and almost got there but the Ivorian goalkeeper beat him to the race for the ball and snuffed out the danger.
South Africa made a change after the break, bringing Siyanda Ngubo on for Tlolane and in the 53rd minute Ngubo’s pass drew the Ivorian goalkeeper off his line and into a mistake, which allowed David Zulu to score the second goal.
Chippa United striker Zulu took a first time shot with his left foot into an empty net after the goalkeeper’s error.
On 65 minutes, Bafana came close to goal No 3 when Siyanda 19-year-old forward Ngubo just couldn’t get his boot onto the ball from close range following a deflected ball knocked into the danger area.
Two minutes later and it was nearly goal No 3 for the home team when Lerato Lamola beat his man and got into space but could not get enough power on his left footed shot. He did have two open teammates to his left that he could have passed to though.
The Ivorians had a couple of chances late in the game but could not penetrate Mabokgwane in goals.
Shakes Mashaba rung the changes inside the final twenty minutes to give various players a run out and it was clear that the home side were enjoying themselves and playing with confidence.
South Africa (1) 2 (Zungu 31’ D Zulu 53’)
Ivory Coast 0
South Africa: Jackson Mabokgwane (Dumiani Msibi 83’) - Siyabinga Nhlapo, Patrick Phungwayo, Chris Komane, Kwanda Mngonyama - Thamsanqa Sangweni (Asavela Mbekile 84’), Bongani Zungu, Themba Zwane (Fagrie Lakay 76’), Vuyisile Wana (Ntsikelelo Nyauza 87’) - Puleng Tlolane (Siyanda Ngubo 46’), David Zulu (Lerato Lamola 63’)
Ivory Coast: Cisse Abdul Karrim - Kessie Franck Yannick, Doumbia Lamine, Diabate Inza, Magbi Laurent Junior (Diaby Ibrahima 32’) - Moukoro Cheikh, Diomande Ibrahim (Bagate Salif 74’), Britto Dagou Willie, Angban Victorien (Sangare Ibrahima 58’) - Zirignon Jean Daniel (Franck Anderson 58’), Diallo Jean Chester.