Bafana move top with eSwatini scalp

SA National Teams

Bafana Bafana jumped to the top of Group A at the COSAFA Cup with a 1-0 win over eSwatini on Thursday afternoon.

Kagiso Malinga featured from the onset for the host following his exploits off the bench against Botswana, whereas Eswatini remained unchanged from their opening day win over Lesotho.

In extremely windy conditions, it was the side of eSwatini that started brightly following a low rasping strike from Justice Figuareido off a short-corner but the danger was in the end averted.

Bafana came alive towards the closing quarter through a snap effort from a tight angle by Ethan Brooks following a through pass by Sphelele Mkhulise.

Sihlangu Semnikati issued a scare of their own a little later when a free-kick from Felix Badenhorst on the edge of the area shaved the top of the crossbar by a mere inches.

That then was Badenhorst’s last piece of action as a second booking for a rash challenge on Mkhulise earned him a red card on the stroke of halftime.

Bafana looked to the bench eight minutes after the restart and introduced Thabang Sibanyoni ahead of Masilake Phohlongo in an all offensive introduction.

It turned to be a perfect substitution six minutes apart as Sibanyoni ran onto a low pass from Monnapule Saleng to find the near corner with a first-time finish.

Bafana struggled to build onto their advantage and instead allowed Eswatini to threaten a comeback with a rasping strike from Sabelo Ndzinisa, but Mothwa parried.

The host should’ve made it two in the last five minutes from a low shot by Malinga, but he went wide before Yusuf Maart closed in with a stupendous strike.

At the other end, Promise Dlamini missed a big chance to level matters from a cross on the left-side in the dying minutes as Bafana claimed victory to move to the top of Group A.

Confirmed line-ups:

Bafana: Mothwa, Mobbie, De Reuck, Mphahlele, Mkhulise, Phohlongo, Saleng, Brooks, Sithebe, Dube, Malinga

Subs: Vyver, Ngobeni, Maart, Sibanyoni.

eSwatini: Dlamini, Msibi, Mkhwanazi, Mamba, Magagula, Mabelesa, Khethokhule, Figareido, Badenhorst, F. Mamba, Ndzinisa.