Bafana, Mali share the spoils
Posted: 15 January 2014 Time: 17:52
Mali held South Africa to a 1-1 draw in their African Nations Championships match at Cape Town on Wednesday afternoon.
Bernard Parker gave Bafana Bafana a fortuitous first half lead, but the visitors leveled soon after the restart though Ibourahima Sidibe.
Gordon Igesund made three changes to the side that beat Mozambique in the CHAN opener, with Vuyo Mere, Lindokuhle Mbatha and Edward Manqele coming in.
It was Mali who made the better start to the game and they should have been awarded a penalty in the ninth minute when Itumeleng Khune brought down an attacker in the area, but the referee waved ‘play on’.
Two minutes later and the visitors had another great chance when Diarra hit a first-time volley from a corner-kick, but the ball went inches wide.
Slowly but surely Bafana found their stride, and in the 13th minute Siphiwe Tshabalala attempted a chip shot which went wide.
Then, on 22 minutes, a moment of contention. Lindokuhle Mbatha made his way towards the area but was fouled by Konate. The referee pointed to the spot, despite replays showing that contact was made outside the area.
Parker stepped up and made no mistake from the spot for his third goal of the tournament.
Mbatha had a great chance to score one of his own shortly afterwards when a cross from the left found him unmarked in the area, but his scuffed goalbound shot was blocked by Adama Traore.
Edward Manqele almost scored on the stroke of halftime after bursting straight through following a slip in defence, but the goalkeeper pulled of a fine save.
Mali started the second half much like the first, and this time they were rewarded for the efforts with an equalizer on 55 minutes. A long ball was flicked on to Lassana Diarra, who set up Sidibe to thunder a shot past Khune.
Hlompo Kekana – still on a high following his wonder-strike against Mozambique on Saturday – attempted another long-range effort which went just wide, before Traore went even closer with a volley that missed the upright by inches.
Parker almost added to his tally on 71 minutes when he did well to control Tshabalala’s cross, but he slipped as he shot and the goalkeeper gathered easily enough.
Shortly afterwards Buhle Mkhwanazi was left unmarked from a set-piece, but rather than hit the ball first time he let it bounce, giving the defence time to close him down and block the shot.
Mali opted to settle for the draw as the game drew to a close and, with Bafana unable to breach their defence, it leaves the host nation with it all to do in their final group match against Nigeria.
South Africa: Khune, Mere, Nthethe, Mkhwanazi, Mokeke, Mbatha, Kekana, Pattison, Tshabalala (Chabangu 81st), Parker, Manqele (Mbekile 55th)
Mali: Diakité, Samaké, Keita, Konaté, A Traoré, Doumbia, Samaké, Sissoko, Sidibé, M Traoré (Kone 86th), Lassana (Diawara 66th)