Bafana Bafana did themselves no favours in their bid to qualify for 2019 AFCON as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Seychelles at the Stade Linte on Tuesday afternoon, writes MARSHALL GOUTS.
Stuart Baxter’s side went into the clash as table-toppers in Group E standings, with seven points amassed from their three games in the campaign. South Africa put the Islanders to the sword in their first fixture, securing a record 6-0 victory which saw five different players get onto the scoresheet in Thulani Hlatshwayo, Lebo Mothiba, Percy Tau, Dino Ndlovu and Teboho Mokoena respectively.
Baxter made one change to his side that did duty on Saturday, with Ndlovu being handed a starting berth in place of winger Aubrey Modiba.
The home side dominated possession stakes from the onset, but struggled to break down the Seychelles defence.
The Islanders, were actually the first team to make inroads in attack as they threatened Itumeleng Khune’s goalframe in the opening ten minutes of the clash.
Bafana’s first half real chance of the game fell for Percy Tau, who tried to assist Mothiba with an outside of the foot cross, however his effort was kept out by Jerome Dingwall.
Kamohelo Mokotjo came agonisingly close with a rare long-distance effort, however his effort deflected off Dino Ndlovu to go inches wide of the net.
Despite large spells of dominace, South Africa failed to find their way past The Pirates, with the artificial pitch at the Stade Linte largely limiting the hosts as the two teams went into the half-time break deadlocked at 0-0.
Baxter’s men upped their efforts at finding the opener in the second stanza, but were let down by some poor decision making in the final third by the likes of Mothiba and Tau.
Tau had the ball in the back of the net in the 55th minute, however his effort was correctly adjudged to have been offside by the linesman.
The home side began to defend deeper as the game gradually went on, while South Africa made their first change of the game in the 58th minute when Aubrey Modiba replaced Lebogang Maboe.
Substitute Modiba missed an excellent opportunity to give his side the lead after being put through on goal by Tau.
Bafana goalkeeper Khune put his side in a spot of bother in the 71st minute when he came out for the ball, but failed to reach it.
South Africa grew increasingly frustrated with their wastefulness in front of goal, with Mothiba and Tau failing to direct their efforts goalbound.
In the end, it proved a disappointing day at the office for Bafana who played to a goalless draw against the minnows, with Modiba missing the easiest of headers to give his side the lead in the dying moments.
Here’s how they lined up:
Bafana: Khune , Mphahlele, Mkhwanazi, Hlatshwayo (C), Hlanti, Furman, Mokotjo, Maboe, Tau, Ndlovu, Mothiba.
Subs: Keet, Madisha, Maela, Mokoena, Kekana, Lorch, Modiba.
Seychelles: Dingwall , Trevor, Nigel, Marie, Joubert, Waye-Hive, Bibi, C.Esther, B.Esther, Monnaie, Damoo.