Bold Bafana victorious in Congo
Posted: 11 October 2014 Time: 16:21
Bafana Bafana moved to the top of African Nations Cup qualifying Group A after a 2-0 victory over Congo in Pointe-Noire on Saturday.
Bongani Ndulula's spectacular overhead-kick and another top finish from Tokelo Rantie was enough for South Africa to take all three points ahead of the return fixture on Polokwane on Wednesday.
Coach Shakes Mashaba made three changes to the side as Rivaldo Coetzee replaced the injured Anele Ngcongca to become the youngest ever Bafana international aged just 17, taking a longstanding record away from former captain Aaron Mokoena.
There were also starts for the recalled Thulani Serero and Tokelo Rantie, meaning Oupa Manyisa and Sibusiso Vilakazi dropped to the bench. Senzo Meyiwa retained the captain’s armband.
Rantie had the first chance of the match in the 12th minute when Serero's clever ball dounf the Bournemouth striker on the six-yard area, but he took a touch and was forced wide when a first-time shot might have been better.
Skipper Mewiya had to be alert three minutes later to keep out a near-post flick from Congo that actually came off the foot of a defender, but the Orlando Pirates keeper tipped it round the post.
Bafana were playing good football in patches as Andile Jali and Ndulula combined with one-twos on the edge of the area but failed to get a shot away.
Meyiwa was called into action a few more times in the half but under no real danger, comfortably dealing with long-range efforts from the home side.
The second half started like a house on fire as Mandla Masango got down the right to force a save out of Chancel Massa and hit the crossbar as the game opened up, end to end.
But it was the visitors who scored first as Ndulula showed perfect striker's instincts to get to Thulani Hlatshwayo's header from a Masango corner to try an overhead-kick with his back to goal, the ball cannoning in off a Congo defender to make it 1-0. It was a goal reminiscent of Thabo Mngomeni's bicycle-kick at the same venue against the same opposition back in 2000.
Three minutes later Bafana twisted the knife when after a defensive error, Furman's disguised left-footed pass found Rantie's clever run into the area and the forward finished calmly with his left foot into the top-left corner to double South Africa's advantage.
Goalscorer Rantie then missed a glorious chance to kill off the game in the 71st minute when played clean through on goal but he stabbed his shot wide.
Congo started to play route one football as they chased the game as Shakes Mashaba brought on Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Kermit Eramsmus and Sibusiso Vilakazi.
Congo missed good chances in the 76th and 82nd minutes as the South Africa defence were let off the hook, while Meyiwa had to get down low to his right, unsighted, to maintain the clean sheet with six minutes remaining.
Two minutes later Furman produced an unbelievable last-ditch tackle to deny Congo a sure goal and make sure Bafana could ride out the last few minutes with a two-goal cushion.
Congo had the ball in the net in the last minute, but the flag was raised for offside as South Africa saw out the game to secure a vital three points in their quest to reach Morocco 2015.
Congo XI: Massa, I Nganga, Moubhio, F Nganga, Bissiki, Ndinga, Oniangué, Gandzé, Litsingi, Bifouma, Doré
Bafana XI: Meyiwa (c), Matlaba, Mathoho, Coetzee, Hlatshwayo, Furman, Jali, Masango (Letsholonyane 78'), Serero, Rantie (Erasmus 73'), Ndulula (Vilakazi 63')