Bafana Bafana

Bafana claim vital away win

2014-10-11 18:26
Tokelo Rantie (Backpage)

Pointe-Noire - Bongani Ndulula scored his second international goal in just three appearances to help South Africa to a crucial 2-0 victory over Congo in a 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Pointe-Noire on Saturday afternoon.

As it happened: Congo v Bafana Bafana


Ndulula drew first blood early in the second half, before Tokelo Rantie helped himself to his fifth international career goal to put the result beyond doubt and send Bafana Bafana top of Group A.

As the qualification campaign reached the halfway stage, Bafana grabbed three priceless points in a week where talk of a win for South Africa focused on the unlikelihood in the ever-hostile coastal city of Pointe-Noire.

Seven points from three tough encounters gives South Africa a superb start and a solid footing as the team begin their trip back home, where Polokwane will host the return fixture against Congo next week.

Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba made three changes to the team that earned a credible goalless draw against Nigeria in Cape Town last month.

Ajax Cape Town defender Rivaldo Coetzee made his debut for the senior team having come through the youth structures under the guidance of Mashaba.

Coetzee became the senior national team's youngest ever representative at 17, beating a 15 record held by another defender, Aaron Mokoena.

Thulani Serero was also in the starting line-up, while Rantie partnered Ndulula in attack.

Congo had the brighter start, opening up a number of chances, which culminated in a double chance inside the opening eight minutes.

The hosts continued to press and had South Africa under pressure throughout the opening quarter, Senzo Meyiwa regularly called into action.

South Africa looked to struggle after 22 minutes and failed to make any inroads as Congo continued to advance on the front foot.

Ndulula was left wondering what could have been when he was put through on goal after some superb work in the middle from Doncaster Rovers midfielder Dean Furman.

Furman broke through the middle before combining with a host of South Africans, laying off to Ndulula in the area. He was unable to get his shot away and was blocked at the last minute.

At the other end, Meyiwa was kept busy by the Congo attackers, but none were able to test the Orlando Pirates number one, who made light work of the tame efforts coming his way.

Bafana slowly found their feet and began to build some ascendancy, Furman and Andile Jali dictating play in the middle of the park.

A goalmouth scramble inside the South African box sparked a frantic five minutes as Meyiwa was forced into a brilliant save to deny Congo, who were through on goal.

From the one end to the other, Bafana broke the deadlock in spectacular fashion as Ndulula volleyed over his shoulder from a Mandla Masango corner.

High and mighty, Congo were left for dead as the striker's acrobatic shot flew into the back of the net, a failed clearance notwithstanding.

But there was more to come for the visitors as Rantie curled home Bafana's second of the afternoon.

Some industrious work in midfield allowed Furman to come through with the ball, before laying off to Rantie, who did the rest, as he side-footed home.

Meyiwa was looking unbeatable at the back, making a fine save in the 73rd minute after initially spilling a corner.

Meyiwa was kept the busier of the two goalkeepers as the clock wound down, putting himself in line for the man-of-the-match award with countless saves and parried to keep Bafana's lead in tact.

Teams:

Congo:
Massa, I Nganga, Moubhio, F Nganga, Bissiki, Ndinga, Oniangué, Gandzé, Litsingi, Bifouma, Doré
 
Bafana Bafana:
Meyiwa, Matlaba, Mathoho, Coetzee, Hlatshwayo, Furman, Jali, Masango, Serero, Rantie, Ndulula

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