Bafana Bafana suffered a 5-4 defeat on penalties against Botswana in the Cosafa Cup quarter-final at the Princess Magogo Stadium on Sunday afternoon, writes DYLAN APPOLIS.
The South African national team’s preparations took a hit this week after Phakamani Mahlambi and Keagan Dolly withdrew from the squad earlier this week, but the likes of Gift Links and Keletso Makgalwa were brought in to replace the duo.
Bafana and Botswana met in the Plate final of this competition last season, with South Africa coming out on top after claiming a comfortable 3-0 victory to lift the trophy.
The game got of to a slow start with both nations trying to find their rhythm in the opening exchanges of the match.
Bafana came to life in the 19th minute when they took the lead afyer Teboho Mokoena played Luther Singh through on goal to calmly slot the ball past Botswana keeper Ezekiel Morake.
The hosts nearly doubled their minutes later but Singh blazed his free-kick over the crossbar after Mosha Gaolaolwe brought down Mokoena on the edge of the area.
South African did eventually double their lead just before the half hour mark when Kamohelo Mahlatsi setup Grant Margeman, who fired his effort into the bottom corner to make it 2-0.
The visitors had two glorious opportunities in quick succession but failed to show their composure in the final third to convert their chances.
Bafana managed to hold on to their two-goal lead over Botswana as the game went into the half time interval.
The home side picked up where they left of in the first half by dominating the game early in the second half.
Although Bafana dominated proceedings, Botswana pulled a goal back when Lebogang Ditsele beat Bafana keeper Reyaad Pieterse to found the back of the net with his header.
After reducing the deficit, the Zebras continued to push forward as they went in search of an equalising goal.
The Zebras persistence paid off as they eventually found the equaliser late in stoppage-time through Thatayaone Ditlhokwe forcing the game to be settled in a penalty shootout after the game ended 2-2 after regulation time.
However, Botswana came out victory in the penalty shootout after securing a 5-4 win to advance to the semi-final of the tournament.
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