Bafana Bafana moved to the top of Group A at the Cosafa Cup following their 1-0 victory over Eswatini at Wolfson Stadium in Gqeberha on Thursday.
Coach Helman Mkhalele was absent for their second group-stage encounter after he tested positive for Covid-19, while Kagiso Malinga, who scored the winning goal against Botswana on Tuesday, earned a place in the starting lineup.
Eswatini got the game off to a bright start and had a chance to break the deadlock in the opening minutes, but Felix Badenhorst’s long-range effort was easily saved by South African goalkeeper Veli Mothwa.
The visitors were then reduced to 10 men in stoppage time when Badenhorst was shown his second yellow card after he kicked Bafana midfielder Sphelele Mkhulise.
Justice Figareido should’ve handed Eswatini the lead early in the second half when he made his way through on goal but was denied by a superb save from Mothwa.
Eswatini failed to make the most of their chances in the 52nd minute when Figareido picked out Khetokuhle Mkhontfo with his corner kick, but the midfielder guided his header narrowly wide of the near post.
Bafana eventually took the lead five minutes later when substitute Themba Sibanyoni capitalised on an error by Monnapule Saleng before bursting into the box to slot the ball past Ncamiso Dlamini from close range.
South African skipper Mothwa came to his side rescue in the 78th minute when he pulled off a comfortable save to keep out Sabelo Ndzinisa’s effort at goal.
Bafana should’ve put the game to bed in the 87th minute when Yusuf Maart played Kagiso Malinga through on goal to go one on one with the Eswatini keeper, but Dlamini did enough to prevent the ball from finding the net.
However, Bafana held on to secure the win and all three points to move to the top of Group A ahead of their next encounter with Lesotho on Tuesday.
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