A goal on debut for Kaizer Chiefs forward Ryan Moon and a strike by Gift Motupa gave Bafana Bafana a 2-0 win against Botswana in the first leg of their Chan qualifiers on Saturday, writes MARSHALL GOUTS.
Mario Booysen, Tercious Malepe, Mothobi Mvala and Riyaad Norodien retained their spots from the 2-0 victory against the same opposition in the Cosafa Cup plate semi-final, while Baxter handed debuts to Ryan Moon, Teboho Mokoena and Sibusiso Khumalo respectively.
The visitors started the brighter of the two teams and looked promising with their enterprising play in the early exchanges.
Some great play by Thero Setsile almost saw the hosts take the lead when he beat two defenders to get into the area, but Malepe did well to ensure he didn’t capitalise on his effort.
Norodien proved a menace to the Botswana defence with his directness and hard-running and it was from the Orlando Pirates-man’s corner that Bafana came close to breaking the deadlock when Moyo’s header almost landed in the back of his own net.
The tide of the encounter changed as Botswana took full control, but they were not rewarded for all their attacking efforts, largely due to some alert defending by the visitors.
South Africa took the lead in the 28th minute when Moon showed awareness to beat his marker, before calmly slotting past the onrushing goalkeeper to make it 1-0.
The Zebras failed to match their earlier intensity following Moon’s goal and were reduced to a number of long-range efforts in a bid to equalise.
Bafana goalkeeper Boalefa Pule displayed his great shot-stopping abilities with two fine saves to ensure that Bafana remained in the lead heading into the half-time break.
The second half started in similar vein to the first, with Bafana coming quickest out of the blocks. Botswana made two substitutions as they opted for an all-out attacking approach in the 54th minute.
Botswana came close to restoring matters in the 60th minute, but Bafana managed to clear their lines after a goalmouth scramble.
The visitors made their first substitution in the 65th minute when Jamie Webber replaced Moon, who appeared injured after an earlier collision.
South Africa sealed the tie in the 72nd minute when Gift Motupa got on to the end of Cole Alexander’s pass to make it 2-0.
Bafana almost grabbed a third late when captain Booysen rose highest to meet Norodien’s corner, but his effort crashed against the underside of the crossbar.
Baxter made his second substitution of the game late on as he handed defender Malebogo Modise his senior team debut.
Botswana posed little threat to South Africa in the closing exchanges as Baxter’s side now take a 2-0 lead heading into the second leg of their Chan qualifying tie next week at the Moruleng Stadium.
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