CHAN: South Africa 3-1 Mozambique
South Africa went on top of the Group A of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) when they came back from behind to beat Mozambique 3-1 in an exciting opening match of the tournament at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday evening.
A brace from Bernard Parker and a terrific goal by Hlompho Kekana made sure Gordon Igesund’s men start the best way in the mini tournament that is contested by only local based players. Mozambique thought they will upset South Africa for the first time in history when they opened the scoring in the 11th minute via Diago.
South Africa started the better of the two sides, visiting the opposition territory on few occasions, but it was Mozambique who opened the scoring against a run of play and took the lead just after 11 minutes.
Midfielder Kito charged to goals through a counter-attack and found Sonito just outside the area, who found Diogo unmarked on the far side, and the striker unleashed a left footed strike from outside the area with the ball deflecting off the legs of Thato Mokeke and wrong footed Itumeleng Khune, who tried to stop the ball with one hand while scrambling before the ball found its way into the net.1-0
The hosts looked down but not out when they pressed forward afterwards looking to replay, and they almost found the equaliser seven minutes later when Bernard Parker’s floating cross was headed on target by Sifiso Vilakazi, but the visiting goalkeeper Soarito parried the ball out for a corner.
Another glorious chance came in the 26th minute for Bafana Bafana when they won a free-kick just outside the area after Mozambique defender made a reckless challenge of Siphiwe Tshabalala. Mamelodi Sundowns striker Katlego Mashego sent his set-piece wide of the target.
The hard work of South Africa paid off after the half-hour mark when Almiro Lobo tackled Sifiso Vilakazi from behind inside the area to leave the referee with no choice but to point to the spot and award Bafana Bafana a penalty.
Penalty specialist Bernard Parker stepped up and sent Soarito the wrong to make the score 1-1. The goal revived the South Africans, and they almost went to the break leading when Siphiwe Tshabalala crossed low from the left hand side only for Katlego Mashego to be denied by the post from close range ten minutes before the break.
The second -half started in a slow tempo compared to the opening half, but the first clear-cut chance of the second half came in the 58th minute and it was a cracker of a goal. Hlompho Kekana unleashed a 35 yards pile-driver that gave the goalkeeper Soarito no chance and make the score 2-1 to South Africa.
Mozambique coach Joao Chissano brought on attacker Mario in the place of Lanito to try and get back on level terms. Siphiwe Tshabalala had a chance to add more goals to his side when he found himself with ball unmarked just outside the area but shot straight at Soarito with 20 minutes still to play.
Mozambique also tried their luck from range in the 75th minute when Kito tested Itumeleng Khune from yards out but the Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper was equal to the task. While the visitors hoped for the late equaliser to bag a point, Bernard Parker killed the game off when he struck the third in the 81st minute.
Attacking midfielder Sifiso Vilakazi found Siphiwe Tshabalala just outside the area, who set-up club teammate Bernard Parker inside the area and the striker shot past helpless Soarito to register a brace and make the score 3-1 to South Africa.
South Africa: Khune ©, Moon, Mkhwanazi, Mokeke, Nthehe, Tshabalala, Vilakazi (Pattison 85’), Chabangu, Kekana, Mashego (Mbekile 73’), Parker.
Mozambique: Soarito, Monis, Khan ©, Chico II, Lobo, Kito, Alvarito (Manuelito 78’), Josimar, Diago, Sonito, Lanito (Mario 65’).South