CHAN: South Africa crash out after Nigeria defeat
South Africa crashed out for the CAF African Nations Championship (CHAN) after going 3-1 down to Nigeria in the last round of the group stage matches at the Cape Town Stadium on Sunday night.
Bafana Bafana needed a win or at least a draw to progress to the knockout stages but a brace by Chistantus Ejike and a goal by Ifeanyi Ede sent Stephen Kheshi’s men to second in Group A with six points. Bernard Parker scored from the spot to console the South Africans as the finish third with four points.
Mali, who top the group with 7 points after coming back from behind to beat Mozambique 2-1 in the other Group A match played at the Athlone Stadium, were suppose to lose by big margin score for South Africa to advance.
South Africa coach Gordon Igesund fielded the possible powerful squad with Kaizer Chiefs’ Tefo Mashamaite, left-back Tebogo Langerman, and Bidvest Wits attacking midfielder Sibusiso Vilakazi starting. Nigerian also made few changes to the line up that beat Mozambique 4-2, but attacker Rabin Ali, who scored a brace against Mambas, started.
Bafana Bafana came to this match knowing the odds will be against them as they haven’t beaten Nigeria ever in competitive matches. But their good start when Bernard Parker had a stinging shot well blocked by Chigozie Agbim inside ten minutes gave the hope they wanted to break the record.
The Nigerians were also attacking in the opening proceedings, but failed to trouble Moeneeb Josephs at goals. In the 20th minutes, South Africa came close to scoring again when Thabo Nthethe rose the highest in the area to connect with Siphiwe Tshabalala before he saw his header well gathered by Chigozie Agbim.
Two minutes later, South Africa found went behind as the Nigerians drew the first blood. Rabin Ali found Ifeanyi Ede on the left hand side, and the striker crossed low for Chistantus Ejike, who fired a left-footed first-time shot past helpless Moeneeb Josephs and into the roof of the net, 1-0.
Things went bad to worse for Bafana Bafana when Super Eagles were awarded e penalty when goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs failed to hold onto Rabin Ali’s floating free-kick and the ball fell in the path of Faud Salimi before Josephs brought him down leaving the referee with no choice but to point to the spot and show a yellow to the goalkeeper in the half-hour mark.
First goal assister Ifeanyi Ede steeped up and sent a powerful low shot that Moeneeb Josephs got a touch onto but failed to keep it out, 2-0. Bafana Bafana almost pulled one back three minutes later when Tebogo Langerman’s cross found Bernard Parker inside the area, but the striker’s diving header went inches wide of the mark.
Then South Africa coach Gordon Igesund showed his frustrations when he sent on striker Katlego Mashego for midfielder Matthew Pattison as he looked to be get back to the game ten minute before the break. The substitute almost made his mark when he was clever passed by Hlompho Kekana only to direct his shot wide from the edge of the area in the stroke of half-time.
The trailing side made another change in the restart bringing Lerato Chabangu in the place of Sibusiso Vilakazi to add fresh legs up front. South Africa started the second half the better of the two sides, but Nigeria almost put the ball to bed when Ifeanyi Ede stole the ball just outside the area before he saw his low shot well saved by Moeneed Josephs in the 50th minutes.
South Africa had their first chance of the half in the hour-mark when Bernard Parker beat the offside trap to connect with Londokuhle Mbatha’s cross but his overhead kick untroubled Chigozie Agbim in goals. A minute later Katlego Mashego’s curling strike that looked destined for top corner was turned out for a corner by Agbami, it was a great save from the goalkeeper.
But Nigeria looked to be rampant when they netted the third and killed the tie off in the 63rd minute. Chistantus Ijeke played a one-two touches pass with Fuad Salami before firing a shot beyond fully stretched Moeneeb Josephs and into far post to register his brace, 3-0.
Chistantus Ejike almost netted his hat-trick eight minutes later when he unleashed a left footed strike from outside the area only to be denied by the crossbar with Moeneeb Josephs well beaten.
The match got more interesting when the referee showed a straight red card to Solomon Kwambe who fouled Tebogo Langerman without the ball in his feet, before he dismissed Vuyo Mere for second bookable offence three minutes later to leave both teams level with ten players on the pitch.
With ten minutes left to play, South Africa was awarded a penalty when substitute Ugonna Uzochukwu clipped Katlego Mashego from behind. Bernard Parker stepped up and sent Chigozie Agbam the wrong way and reduced the deficit to two goals, 3-1.
Katlego Mashego almost set a dramatic finish when he came to close to scoring the second goal for South Africa but his well taken shot from inside the area was pushed out for a corner by Chogozie Agbam in the 88th minute, as that was the last chance of the encounter.
South Africa: Josephs, Mere, Nthethe ©, Mashamaite, Langerman (Chapman 75’), Tshabalala, Pattison (Mashego 35’), Kekana, Mbatha, Parker, Vilakazi (Chabangu 45’)
Nigeria: Agbim, Kwambe, Egwuekwe, Odunmlami, Obanor (Zango 67’), Eseime, Ali, Shehu, Ejike, Salami (Uzuchuku 78’), Ede