Amajita ended their Saudi Arabian tour for the Fifa Under-20 World Cup preparations on a high note on Friday afternoon with a 2-1 victory over the hosts at Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Sports City Stadium.
The South African Under-20 team, who flew to the host nation Poland immediately after this encounter, needed this morale-booster, considering they had suffered a 1-0 defeat in their first meeting on Tuesday.
The mere fact that Amajita dominated the majority of the possession in both matches against the Arabians deserves to be lauded.
But one would have expected them to have had a clean sweep over the Middle East team, since they are preparing for title favourites Portugal, South Korea and Argentina in Group F.
However, not all is lost for Thabo Senong’s troops in terms of preparations, as there are still two friendlies against Uruguay and Ukraine on May 15 and 18.
And judging from how the South Africans’ striking department kept the Arabians’ defence busy for the better part of the two matches, then Senong’s task is easy going into the last round of the preparations – put more emphasis on the final pass.
Striker Thabiso Monyane was the sharpest Amajita player on Friday afternoon, and should have got the lead for his side as early as the 10th minute.
But his effort came off the side-netting after a scramble in the box.
Soon after, Orlando Pirates’ bulky striker was presented with another opportunity to get his name on the scoreboard, but this time he was denied by the goalkeeper after enjoying acres of space in the box.
Oswin Appolis also tested the waters, but his long-range effort skied into the stands. Despite a handful chances, South Africa went to the break with nothing to show for it.
Early in the second half, Saudi Arabia did put their half-chance away, thanks to a strike from Turki Al Ammar.
Fulltime Score: Saudi Arabia 1, South Africa 2.— SAFA.net (@SAFA_net) April 26, 2019
But thereafter, the SA Under-20 outfit hit top gear as they restored parity from a spot-kick by Monyane, after Njabulo Blom was brought down in the box.
Monyane was yet again in the thick of things for the second goal, picking up Promise Mkhuma, who finished off with a glancing header to get the win for his side.
The South Africans will open their World Cup campaign against Argentina on May 25.@Mihlalibaleka