KWAMASHU – Bafana Bafana advanced to the Cosafa Cup plate final after defeating Uganda 4-2 on penalties on Tuesday evening at Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu.
The game ended 1-1 in 90 minutes and went straight to penalties. The local lad, Mondli Mpoto, was the hero of the day as he saved two penalties, while Bafana converted all theirs.
The hosts will now compete in the plate final on Friday at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
Bafana had a shaky start to the game, committing numerous errors as they couldn’t find their rhythm. The passing was sloppy and the decision-making was poor. The changes that the coach made might have an effect.
Uganda utilised the opportunity as they piled an early pressure. Mustafa Kizza was overloading on the left and tested Mpoto from distance but the Umlazi-born goal-minder came out top as he made a comfortable save.
Bongani Sam sustained a hamstring injury and was immediately replaced by Jamie Webber.
Katlego Mohamme was moved into a left-back position, while Cupido slotted in at center-back alongside Sandile Mthethwa. Webber played as an attacking midfielder.
Gift Links almost broke the deadlock for Bafana when Charles Lukwago fumbled his attempt between the sticks for Uganda but luckily the ball went wide for a corner kick. From the that corner kick, Keanu Cupido was denied by the woodwork in the 16th minutes. It was a quality delivery by Teboho Mokoena from the left.
Bafana slowly regained their confidence and they started asking questions from their adversaries. They also cut the supply in the middle of the park, which stopped Kizza from overloading on the left.
Uganda were attacking with fullbacks as their wingers tucked into open space for their wing-backs to storm forward.
Sipho Mbule was causing havoc for the Cranes, but played in dribs and drabs. Lukwago was suspect between the sticks for Uganda, with his handling shaky.
Bafana were caught sleeping once again as they conceded a minute after the interval. Juma Balinya played a clever pass in between the centre-backs, and Dan Serunkuma reacted quickly as he got to the ball ahead of Mthethwa and Cupido before beating Mpoto with a well taken strike.
Bafana conceded in the last minutes of the game in their quarter-final loss against Botswana this past weekend, and handling critical phases of the game seem to be their major shortcoming in the tournament.
David Notoane sacrificed Mbule in the second half and introduced Jemondre Dickens.
Bafana changed their system from a 4-4-1-1 to a 4-4-2 when they were in possession of the ball in the second half.
Balinya almost went from a provider to a goal-scorer when he unleashed a thunder-bolt from distance, but Mpoto was up to the task.
From the resultant corner, he kept Isaac Isinde out with another wonderful save. Mpoto was working overtime and earning his money.
Luther Singh restored parity with a rocket in the 70th minute. He was released by Dickens and finished with aplomb.
The goal was coming for Bafana as they kept probing, searching for that killer pass in between the centre-backs.
Lukwago saved the best for last as he made two crucial double saves to deny Bafana from snatching the winner at the death.