Amajita down Russia

After being put under tremendous pressure in the first half, Amajita turned on the heat in the second half, scoring two quick goals. It could have been worse for the hosts had Amajita utilised all their chances but the two goals were full value for the hard work they put in the second stanza.

It was the Russians who started frantically, looking for the crucial early goal in the very first minute but goalkeeper and man-of-the-match Dumisani Msibi came off his line quickly to avert danger.

Winger Yevgeny Markov was proving a danger on the left wing and his cross on the 7th minute was again well collected by Msibi as the hosts continued to threaten.

Kabelo Seriba then collected a yellow card as the hosts again poured forward and from the resultant free kick, Msibi produced a brilliant save.

Amajita responded in the 21st minute when Maphosa Modiba’s stinging shot brought out a good save from Russian goalkeeper Liya Lantratov, who punched the ball for a corner.

Using their aerial power, the hosts continued to pump long balls forward in a bid to unsettle Amajita and the trick seemed to work.

Getting frustrated by not getting the early opener, Russia resorted to long range shots and one effort almost paid dividends on the 30th minute when a vicious shot from Alexey Yevseev went narrowly wide of the desperately dividing Msibi.

Denwin Farmer then appeared from nowhere to deny Temuri Bukia as the Russian striker ghosted towards the goal.

Msibi was having a good game foiling Russian attacks one after the other as the hosts sustained the first half pressure.

Siyanda Ngubo and Pule Maraisane then came in after resumption to add bite upfront. And the move immediately paid off when Maraisane received a pass from Ngubo before planting a well taken strike into the back of the net to make it 1-0 in the 50th minute.

Five minutes later, Siphelele Luthuli made it 2-0 with another individual goal as the hosts seemed bemused on what had stung them.

It could have been 3-0 seconds later but Ngubo’s well-taken diagonal shot went agonisingly wide as Amajita upped the tempo.

Maraisane was proving a thorn in the flesh for the Russians as his maze runs seemed to bamboozle the hosts.

It then became a game of attrition as both teams seemed bogged down with the pace of the match.

The South Africans will now meet Belarus for a place in the final while Turkmenistan play Finland in the second semi-final encounter scheduled for Friday.

Amajita starting XI against Russia: Dumisani Msibi, Kabelo Seriba, Motjeka Madisha, Denwin Farmer, Maphosa Modiba, Siphelele Luthuli,Bongane Mathabela, Tlotlo Leepile, Ricardo Lourenco, Haashim Domingo, Thamsanqa Masiya