Bafana Bafana moved four points clear at the top of the Group G standings after securing a 3-1 victory over Ethiopia at the Bahir Dar Stadium in their Fifa World Cup qualifier on Saturday afternoon.
Hugo Broos named Thabiso Kutumela in the starting lineup in place of the injured Vincent Pule, while Tshegofatso Mabasa also replaced Victor Letsoalo.
South Africa got off to a lively start as they looked to get on the front foot in the early exchanges.
The home side came close to taking the lead in the 27th minute but Ronwen Williams did well to tip Surafel Dagnachew’s effort over the crossbar.
Bafana had a chance of their own in the 32nd minute when Thabiso Kutumela made space for himself before unleashing a low strike that just sailed wide of target.
Broos then made the decision to make an early substitution three minutes later as Victor Letsoalo came on to replace Tshegofatso Mabasa.
The visitors eventually took the lead on the stroke of half time as Teboho Mokoena’s free kick slipped out of the Ethiopian goalkeeper’s hands and into the back of the net as Bafana took the lead into the break.
Ethiopia got off to a good start in the second half and saw more possession of the ball in the early stages, while Bafana sat back and soaked up the pressure.
The home side felt they should’ve been awarded a penalty in the 57th minute when Siyanda Xulu was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box, but the referee waved play on.
Both teams pressed forward in search of a goal after the hour mark but neither could bypass each other’s defence.
Ethiopia eventually levelled matters in the 66th minute when former Bidvest Wits forward Getaneh Kebede found the back of the net with a superb curling free kick into the top corner, with Williams rooted to the spot.
Bafana then restored their lead in the 72nd minute when Mothobi Mvala found the back of the net to make it 2-1 with a neat finish from close range.
Broos made a double substitution in the 78th minute when Kutumela and Brooks came off, replaced by Evidence Makgopa and Yusuf Maart.
The visitors should have extended their lead even further in the 80th minute but saw their attempt being denied by the crossbar.
South Africa put the game to bed in stoppage time when Makgopa lobbed the ball over the Ethiopian goalkeeper to grab their third goal and secure a 3-1 win in Bahir Dar.
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