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Bafana Bafana beat Zimbabwe 1 – 0 in World Cup qualifier

BAFANA Bafana are three points clear at the top of the 2022 World Cup qualifier Group G log following their 1-0 win over Zimbabwe in a match played at FNB Stadium on Thursday.

Teboho Mokoena scored the only goal of the game in the first half, and Zimbabwe couldn’t get back into the game.

Mokoena got an early injury scare with a tough tackle from the midfield, and he limped off the pitch to receive medical attention.

It was a rather physical affair between the two neighbours after 10 minutes as the two sides were still trying to find their feet.

Zimbabwe had their penalty appeal turned down as the ball hit Terrence Mashego in the hand inside the Bafana Bafana box from an attempted tackle on Wadi.

Bafana Bafana then won a free-kick as Nyiko Mobbie went to the ground outside the box, and Percy Tau’s resulting free-kick was parried back into play by Warriors goalkeeper Mhari.

Bafana Bafana would break the deadlock through Mokoena who connected with Keagan Dolly’s cross and headed past Mhari for the hosts’ lead after 26 minutes.

Zimbabwe won a free-kick in a promising area, but a floated attempt by Khama Billiat went across the face of Ronwen Williams’ goal with Wadi coming close to connecting with it.

Bafana Bafana went into the break leading the Warriors by a goal-to-nil, and Hugo Broos needed to instill discipline going into the second half.

Zimbabwe came back stronger in the second half, and they were unlucky to have not scored when Sarupinda skied his effort with the net at his mercy.

Sarupinda was subsequently replaced by Kudakwashe Mahachi on the hour-mark before Norman Mapeza made another change minutes later as Knox Mutizwa replaced David Moyo in an attempt to add fresh legs upfront.

Dolly then attempted a curler from outside the box but Mhari was equal to the task as he parried the ball over the crossbar for a corner.

Zimbabwe had a number of goalscoring chances after getting behind the Bafana Bafana defence but they were not able to use them.

Bafana Bafana put the foot off the gas for a few minutes and that allowed Zimbabwe to take the game to them in search of the equalizer.

Mutizwa then set up Nakamba on the edge of the Bafana Bafana box but the latter ballooned his effort way over the top after 76 minutes.

Billy Antonio was finally unleashed by Zimbabwe as he entered the field in the final five minutes of the encounter at the age of 18.

Bongokuhle Hlongwane had two great chances to put the game beyond Zimbabwe’s reach but it wasn’t to be as he firstly failed to connect with a cross played inside the box.

Hlongwane’s second attempt at goal was a rocket which came off Mhari’s goalposts and back into play as Bafana Bafana showed some sense urgency in the final third.

Ultimately, Bafana Bafana walked away 1-0 winners to take full control of Group G log ahead of their match against second-placed Ghana on Sunday.

BAFANA BAFANA VS ZIMBABWE: STARTING LINEUPS

Bafana XI: Williams, Mobbie, Ngcobo, De Reuck, Mashego, Phete, Mokoena, Dolly, Tau, Hlongwane, Makgopa.

Subs: Mothwa, Brooks, Mmodi, Blom, Zuke, Malepe, Lakay, Sithole, Mdantsane, Donn, Bvuma.

Zimbabwe XI: Mhari, Chimwemwe, Galloway, Madzongwe, Takwara, Kangwa, Nakamba, Sarupinda, Billiat, Wadi, Moyo.

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