Cape Town - Having been included in Bafana Bafana’s starting line-up to counter the physical threat of Mali, Wits midfielder Matthew Pattison believes South Africa managed to subdue their north African opponents but failed to find a decisive goal.
Bafana gave up their half-time lead as Ibourahima Sidibe equalised for Mali 10 minutes after the interval, ending South Africa’s second African Nations Championship tie in a disappointing 1-1 draw, which puts the host nation under pressure to qualify for the knockout stage.
“We knew it was going to be a battle. I thought we matched them physically. We got about them well and put them under pressure,” Pattison said after the game in Cape Town.
“Probably in the first half, we shaded it quality-wise. We got into some good positions.
“We would have liked to create more in the second half but when you concede a goal, it knocks the stuffing out of you a little bit.”
Bernard Parker had put the home side ahead after 25 minutes from a penalty kick, but Mali fought back and thundered home through Sidibe as the teams were made to share the points.
South Africa remained top of the group, level with Mali on four points, but lead thanks to a superior goal-difference.
They will, however, need at least a draw against Nigeria on Sunday to progress to the next round.
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