Bafana Bafana beat Senegal on penalties to win Cosafa Cup
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JOHANNESBURG – Bafana Bafana celebrated Nelson Mandela Day by winning the Cosafa Cup following a 5-4 penalty shoot-out win over guest nation Senegal at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Gqeberha on Sunday afternoon.
Bafana’s Ethan Brooks was the first to miss from the spot as his spot-kick was saved by Senegal keeper Papa N’Diaye. Bafana captain Veli Mothwa then went on to put matters level after saving Dominic Mendy’s spot-kick which was Senegal’s fourth as things ended 4-4 after the first five spot-kicks, forcing sudden death.
Nyiko Mobbie scored Bafana’s sixth before Senegal keeper and captain N’Diaye opted to take his nation’s sixth, skiing it over the bar and gifting the win to the host nation.
The game was a scrappy one. Bafana Bafana went into the game with a 100% win record and after having failed to concede a single goal and faced their strongest test yet against the Senegalese.
Bafana did have their chances to score but once again seemed to suffer with anxiety in front of goal in key moments. Siyethemba Sithebe had a free-kick within the 7th minute but the AmaZulu player’s set-piece was quickly cleared away.
One of Bafana’s stars from the tournament, Yusuf Maart also failed to sparkle in the game. He had a free-kick opportunity in the 16th minute which went straight to Senegal keeper N’Diaye.
There was not much action in the first-half with Bafana keeper Veli Mothwa not having to make a single save, though his defence was forced to clear the ball off the line in the 40th minute following a Senegal corner.
The second half was scrappy as was the first one with neither side being able to create many clear-cut opportunities.
Bafana’s closest chance in the game was in the 70th minute as a free-kick found itself in the path of defender Njabulo Ngcobo. Ngcobo managed to direct his shot on target but it lacked power as N’Diaye made an easy save.
Pappe Djitte had the best chance of the game for Senegal in the 76th minute but did not use it well as he ended up losing composure in front of goal. Two minutes later, Bafana’s Rushine De Reuck found himself in goalscoring range after a throw-in from Maart found itself towards him but he struck over.
With virtually the last kick of the 90 minutes, Bafana was awarded a free kick just outside the box. The effort ended up deflecting off the Senegal wall before N’Diaye made an easy save.
Neither side created a good opportunity in extra-time before penalties ensued.