BAFANA Bafana have significantly enhanced their chances of progressing to the final stages of the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualification with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Ethiopia at FNB Stadium yesterday.
Bafana took the lead after 11 minutes when Getaneh Kebede shot himself in the foot by deflecting Victor Letsoalo’s header into his own net from a corner kick by Yusuf Maart.
Ethiopia nearly equalised minutes later but Kebede watched in disbelief when his shot from inside the box went agonizingly wide of the upright after they constructed a well-taken counter attack.
Just before the half-hour mark, Bafana missed out on an opportunity to increase their lead when Letsoalo missed a sitter in front of goal after he was set up by Bongokuhle Hlongwane.
Broos started the match with four changes from the team that beat the Ethiopians 3-1 last weekend away from home with Njabulo Ngcobo surprisingly inserted into the midfield in place of midfielder Mothobi Mvala, while Yusuf Maart came in for Ethan Brooks.
On the attacking line, Letsoalo started in the place of Thabiso Kutumela and Evidence Makgopa was in for Tshegofatsho Mabasa, but the duo ended their strong shifts empty-handed.
Goalkeeper Ronwen Williams continued to lead the team between the sticks, Siyanda Xulu and Rushine de Reuck marshalled the defence and they returned with the third clean sheet of the qualifiers.
The new midfield partnership of Ngcobo, Maart and Teboho Mokoena was impressive as they controlled things for most of the match.
Spectators were allowed into the venue for the first time since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic more than a year ago and the nearly 2,000 fans who turned up made their voices heard.
After 56 minutes, South Africa hit Ethiopia with a quick counter-attack that resulted in Makgopa’s goal-bound shot being cleared off the line by defender Suteman Hamid.
There were no goals to celebrate in the closing stages as Bafana held on for this important victory at home. — TmesLIVE