South Africa advance via shoot out
South Africa secured a place in the final of the All Africa Games Men’s Tournament when they beat Senegal 6-5 in a penalty shoot out at the Maxaquene Stadium, on Tuesday afternoon.
The two teams could not be separated after 120 minutes of normal and extra time and the dreaded penalty shoot out was needed to decide the first semi-final.
Goalkeeper Nhlanhla Khuzwayo proved to be the hero for the South Africans, keeping Senegal at bay in normal time and then saving Ibrahima Ba’s spot kick to win the match for Amaglug-glug.
The occasion of the semi-final got to both teams as nerves robbed the first half of any real chances with both Khuzwayo and his counterpart, Ousmane Mane, having little to do in the opening 45 minutes.
The second half was one of two parts, the first belonging to South Africa. It culminated in the 76th minute when Bongumusa Ntombela forced his way into the area but his snap shot ran across the face of the goal but no one was on hand to force the ball over the line.
Senegal than took over and dominated the midfield, creating two clear-cut chances to win the game before the referee's final whistle.
In the 85th minute Mouhktar Thioune broke free of his markers and drove a shot to the far post but Khuzwayo dived smartly to his left to turn the ball behind for a corner.
Baye Niasse could have wrapped it up referee’s optional time, when he turned the South African defence, got a kind bounce, and poked the ball toward goal. Khuzwayo got a slight touch and the ball rebounded off the post and back into the danger area, where Thamsanqa Sangweni cleared to ensure the game moved into extra time.
The additional 30 minutes followed the same pattern as the first half with neither team willing to venture forward to sacrifice their formation in defence and settled for the match to be decided from the penalty spot.
If extra time was pedestrian in nature the shoot out lived up to the expectations of the small crowd at the Maxaquene Stadium as the drama unfolded.
Initially it played out according to plan as each team converted their first three kicks with precision. Then South Africa’s Wilson Mkhwanazi's shot seemed to have been saved by Mane but the ball spat out of his arms and trickled into the net much to the anguish of the Senegal goalminder.
At 4-4 Sibusiso Mxoyana of South Africa stepped up and failed to convert but the referee ordered a retake believing Mane had moved off his line. Mxoyana retook his kick and once again Mane got his hand to the ball but palmed it into the net.
Souleymane Diop then scored to tie the shoot out at 5-5 and force sudden death.
Sangweni scored to give the South African’s the advantage before his opposite number, Ba, placed his ball for Khuzwayo right hand post, but the keeper guessed right and easily saved the kick to send the South African camp into ecstasy.
South Africa now find themselves in the final on Saturday where they will play either Ghana or Cameroon, who clash tomorrow afternoon at the same venue.
South Africa: Khuzwayo, Pule, Mxoyana, Masalesa, Sangweni, Khumalo (Zulu 78’), Shongwe, Mkhwanazi, Bhengu (Ntombela 62’), Adolph (Motau 109’), Eugene
Senegal: Mane, S. Thioune, Soumare, E. Diop, Ba, M. Thioune (Sarr 90+3), Gomis, Coly, D. Diop, Gueye, Niasse (S. Diop 113’)
13 Sept South Africa 0 (6) Senegal 0(5) Maxaquene
14 Sept Cameroon v Ghana Maxaquene
Third Place Play Off
16 Sept Senegal v Cameroon/Ghana Maxaquene
17 Sept South Africa v Cameroon/Ghana National Stadium
HOSTS COUNTRIES OF NEXT CAF COMPETITIONSOrange CAN 2012
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