at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Botswana (1) 1 (Nato 38’)
South Africa (1) 1 (Gould 14’)
South Africa suffered another disappointing result in their 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Group A rivals Botswana in Gaborone on Saturday.
After drawing by the same score line against Ethiopia last weekend – a result which saw the demise of coach Pitso Mosimane – Bafana Bafana needed to get all three points under caretaker Steve Komphela to get back on track for Brazil 2014.
An early goal from Morgan Gould seemed to put South Africa on course for all three points, but Botswana struck back before the break through Ofentse Nato. There were no further goals as the teams played out a draw that is no real help to either’s hopes.
Botswana started strongly and almost opened the scoring in the third minute when Joel Mogorosi got on the end of a free kick and powered a header onto the crossbar, with goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune well beaten.
The Zebras certainly looked the likelier scorers early on, but Bafana Bafana weathered the early storm from the hosts and took control of the game. On 14 minutes they broke the deadlock, with Morgan Gould scoring his first international goal by heading home at the near post from Steven Pienaar’s corner kick.
The visitors went on to create several good chances to extend their lead, but found Kabelo Dambe a difficult man to beat. The goalkeeper made a particularly fine save to keep out Katlego Mphela in the 27th minute after some great set-up play by Siyabonga Nomvethe.
Just over ten minutes later Botswana levelled the game at 1-1. A quick throw-in from the right flank saw Jerome Ramatlhakwana cause trouble in the Bafana penalty area, before midfielder Ofentse Nato was able to force the ball home after seeing an initial effort well blocked.
Siphiwe Tshabalala almost restored Bafana’s lead eight minutes into the second half with a superb long range effort that looked destined for the top corner, but Dambe produced the save of the match to turn the ball behind for a corner kick.
Bafana substitutes Tokelo Rantie and Teko Modise helped the liven up the visitors’ attack, while Free State Stars’ Mzikayise Mashaba replaced Punch Masenamela at left-back after the defender picked up an unnecessary caution.
Modise, though, was guilty of missing out on a great chance with just over ten minutes to play, ballooning a shot over the target after a slick passing movement had created a great chance that should have seen South Africa reclaim the lead.
Botswana: Dambe, Motlhabankwe, Ohilwe, Letsholathebe, Thuma, Nato, Mogorosi, Motsepe (Moloi 84’), Ramatlhakwana, Ngele (Moatlhaping 59’), Tshireletso (Mongala 62’)
South Africa: Khune, Ngcongca, Masenamela (Mashaba 59’), Gould, Khumalo, Khuboni, Pienaar, Manyisa, Tshabalala (Modise 68’), Mphela, Nomvethe (Rantie 59’) – Backpage Txt