Bafana Bafana were forced to settle for a goalless draw in their opening Fifa World Cup qualifier against Zimbabwe at the National Sports Stadium on Friday afternoon.
Hugo Broos side consists of captain Ronwen Williams and vice-captain Percy Tau along with Rushine De Reuck in defence, Tebogo Mokwena in midfielder and Evidence Makgopa upfront, while Zimbabwe lined up former Kaizer Chiefs star Knowledge Musona and Khama Billiat in attack.
The game got off to a good start as both teams tried to find their rhythm in the opening exchanges of the match.
South African had the first chance of the game after eight minutes but the visitors fired their effort just wide of goal from a resulting short corner.
Tebogo Mokwena should’ve handed Bfana the opening goal in the 17th minute when he unleashed a thunderous strike from outside the box but Talbert Shumba made a superb save to deny the midfielder.
The home side had a chance of their own in the 27th minute but Kudakwashe Mahachi blazed his effort wide of the target.
Khama Billiat nearly handed Zimbabwe the lead two minutes later but fired his curling effort just wide of the far corner with his shot from outside the box before Percy Tau tried his luck with a cheeky chip at the other end.
Neither side were able to find the opening goal in the first half as the game went into the half time break level at 0-0.
Broos opted to bring on fresh legs early in the second half as Gift Links was taken off and replaced by Bongokuhle Hlongwane.
Billiat had the first real opportunity in the half after 56th minutes of play but the Amakhosi attacker failed to hit the target with his effort from outside the box.
Lalchand Rajput then made a double change just before the hour mark when he introduced Terrence Dzvukamanja and Evans Rusike in place of Tino Kadewere and Mahachi.
Bafana nearly grabbed the opening goal in the 65th minute Hlongwane fired his effort from a tight angle towards goal but saw his shot saved off the line by Chimwemwe.
The visitors then made their second substitute of the game in the 73rd minute as Victor Letsoalo came on to replace Luther Singh in attack for Bafana.
Shumba came to his side’s rescue four minutes later when he made a good save to deny Tau’s curling effort from just outside the box before he was taken off and replaced by Sipho Mbule.
Both teams pressed forward in the closing stages but neither side were able to find the winning goal and had to settle for a point each in Harare.
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