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South Africa and Gabon settle for a stalemate in Marrakech

Gabon rescued a point in a 1-1 draw against South Africa in a group B match in Marrakech after the latter had taken the lead in the 40th minute. Gabon finished the match with ten men after goalkeeper Willy Mikiela was sent off for bad tackle on Jabulani Shongwe in the 85th minute. South Africa just like in their first game against Cote d’Ivoire, took the lead and dictated play in the early part of the match. Mandla Masango opened the scoring with a diving header in the 40th minute during a period when his side dictated the pace of the game.

The Amaglug-glug should have increased their lead as they created several opportunities but lacked the required accuracy in front of goal. Gabon crawled their way back into the game in the second half creating some chances through Diderot Lengoualama and Ashley Biyogho though neither attacker was able to get their efforts on target and whenever they did Brilliant Khuzwayo saved Gabon kept working themselves into the game and began to probe South African defence and getting closer .

On 79 minutes Lengoualama equalised for Gabon with a header from a corner kick. Rising above the defenders Lengoualama’s header beat the efforts of the defender on the line on its way in. After the goal Gabon could have added another as South Africa’s play fell apart . Gabon made more forays into South Africa box while South Africa seemed rushed whenever they had chances.

It could have been 2-1 to South Africa when Rodney Ramagalela found himself at the end of a Mxoyana cross but he failed to hit the target with his header and the same striker wasted another chance before he was substituted.

The match then fizzled into a farce after the sending off of Mikiela with Gabon intend on playing for time. Gabonese captain had to go in goal and did well to stop the free-kick that followed the sending off. There after though South Africa tried in vain to made the numerical advantage count while Gabon resorted to time wasting and managed to run down the clock and claim their first point from the draw.

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