Cape Town - Bafana Bafana have let their half-time lead slip, allowing Mali to score a
second half equaliser as the teams drew their African Nations
Championship group A clash 1-1 at the Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday
Ibourahima Sidibe brought the teams level after the
interval, after Bernard Parker had sent South Africa ahead through his
25th minute spot-kick.
A spirited Mali outfit fought back to grab
the equaliser 10 minutes after half-time, as the teams shared the
points, keeping Bafana top of group with four points.
"It was a very difficult game, both teams were evenly matched out there," Bafana coach Gordon Igesund said after the game.
would have been nice to score the second or maybe a third goal. They
caught us on the counter-attack and there are some skilful players in
"At the end of the day, the points were shared and
[based] on the play, it was probably a fair result. We could have had a
bit more luck in front of goal, but it wasn't to be."
10 minutes passed without incident, save for a penalty shout from Mali
that was turned down by referee Souley Mohamadou.
however, Lassana Diarra flashed his effort narrowly wide of Itumeleng
Khune's upright, before Siphiwe Tshabalala's delicate effort went wide
of the target, grazing the crossbar on the way.
The hosts found
their rhythm and soon were paying regular visits into the opposition
half, as Tshabalala, Bernard Parker and Hlompho Kekana came close.
decisive moment came on 23 minutes, when Lindokuhle Mbatha -- who made
his international debut for Bafana against Mozambique four days prior --
made a darting run into the area and was brought down on the edge,
prompting Mohamadou to point to the spot.
Mohamadou waived away furious protests from the Malians, who felt Mbatha had been fouled outside of the box.
Nevertheless, Parker scored his second penalty in as many games to hand the South Africans the lead.
home side were fortunate not to concede shortly before the interval,
after the defence failed to deal with a loose ball inside the area,
which led to Abdoulaye Sissoko thumping the upright with his driven
effort from close-range.
Making his first appearance of the
tournament, Edward Manqele forced a solid save from Mali goalkeeper
Soumaila Diakite, who punched clear, as Bafana saw out the half
After the break, South Africa upped the ante and
dominated the early exchanges, but Mali soaked up the pressure and soon
drew level, as Sidibe thundered home the equaliser.
the final pass to the goal-scorer, after the visitors won the arial
battle and sent Diarra through on goal, but a hefty touch steered the
ball into Sidibe's path, and the midfielder made no mistake in hitting
his effort first time, sailing into the back of the net.
felt newly-capped Mbatha had a solid first start for the national team,
after the nuggety midfielder made a nuisance of himself in Mali's half,
constantly getting beyond his marker and causing havoc in the opposition
"Lindo played very well today. He did exactly what I
wanted him to do. We made the changes because we had a plan and I think
it worked very well for us today.
"He's the kind of player who
runs at people and goes past players on a regular basis. He must have
been very close to being Man-of-the-match, he was outstanding."