Bafana Bafana

Masuku strikes helps SA Under-23s to victory

2015-12-04 23:34
Menzi Masuku (Backpagepix)

Cape Town - A second half goal by Menzi Masuku was enough to send the South Africa Under-23s through to the semi-finals of the 2015 CAF Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations when they beat Tunisia 1-0 in their Group A final encounter held at Stade Caroline Faye in M’Bour, Senegal, on Friday night.

Following the win, Owen Da Gama’s men are set to meet the winner in Group B and have boosted their chances of reaching the Olympics in Brazil next year.

Although the South Africans lacked venom in front of goal, they took the match to the North Africans when the brace hero against Zambia on Tuesday, Gift Motupa, saw his shot going wide. However, they were also under attack after conceding a free kick, but Kwanda Mngonyama cleared the danger.

After 15 minutes of action, Siphelele Ntshangase penetrated the Tunisians before taking a shot at goal, but he failed to hit the target and missed wide of Ben Sabri’s posts.

With the Tunisians kept under pressure, captain Keagan Dolly nearly grabbed the lead when his sweet free kick was saved by the goalkeeper in the 23rd minute.

Against the run of play, Tunisia bounced back and probed for a goal but the lanky Mngonyama was equal to the task despite nearly conceding a corner kick.

In the dying minutes of the first half, Abbubaker Mobara unleashed a powerful shot from a set piece but it was cleared and Dolly's follow-up attempt was safely collected by Sabri.

Upon their return from the tunnel, the Tunisians came back stronger and were rewarded with a corner but Mngonyama was again ready to clear the danger.

Towards the 70th minute, Da Gama introduced Phakamani Mahlambi of Bidvest Wits for Black Leopards’ Siphelele Ntshangase and a few seconds later, Mobara saw his set piece flying over the woodwork.

After 80 minutes of action, both sides failed to create clear cut chances but it was Motupa who nearly scored after he broke free, but he lacked composure and missed a golden opportunity.

However, with five minutes to go, Menzi Masuku grabbed his second goal of the tournament when he received an assist from the enterprising Mahlambi. The Orlando pirates man sent the South Africans through to the semis.

Da Gama’s men join the hosts and winners of the group, Senegal, who beat Zambia in the other match, in the semis.

Teams:

South Africa

February, Mngonyama, Coetzee, Moerane, Mobara, Dolly, Motupa, P. Ntshangase (Mahlambi 60’), S. Ntshangase, Masuku (Rikhotso 89’), Mekoa

Tunisia

Ben Sabri, Kechrida, Kchok, Mechan, Yassine, Jelassi, Khelil, Abd (Jaibi 64’), Jouini, Ghandri, Mansour

Read more on:    menzi masuku  |  soccer
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