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Date: 25 March 2019

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Mphela's goal sinks Pharaohs

[Posted 26 Mar 2011]
[By Brighton Mupangavanhu]
Mphela, the hero who grabbed the goal at the death to give Bafana a 1-0 victory over Egypt

Following the Proteas, Cricket team of South Africa's antics of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory yesterday against New Zealand, South Africa needed something to cheer the spirits of the nation and put back smiles on fans' faces. Mphela did exactly that by scoring at the death to give Bafana Bafana a 1-0 victory over Egypt on Saturday night.

As coach Pitso Mosimane had predicted during the week, the AFCON 2012 Group G qualifying match against champions Egypt would be, in the coach's words, "emotionally draining and tactically exhausting".

There were very few clear-cut chances created in the match by South African midfielders to help Bernard Parker and Katlego Mphela take a crack at goal. Steven Pienaar was the Pharaohs' target man and he fought a lonely midfield battle.

If anything, it was Egypt who tested the Bafana goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune earlier on in the match, and towards the end of the game,  and the Bafana keeper was not really troubled by the Pharaohs' atttempts at goal.

Bafana made more serious threats towards the end of the match, but found veteran Egypt keeper Essam Al Hadari as brilliant as ever, denying South Africa point blank chances, in the only spell Bafana breached the Pharaohs' tough as teak defence.

Towards the end of the match, the Bafana coach made two tactical changes.

After bringing on Tlou Segolela for Bernard Parker earlier in the second half, Pitso threw in defender Reuben Cloete and midfielder Reneihlwe Letsolonyane for Siboniso Gaxa and Pienaar respectively.

While many expected Pitso to bring on Davide Somma in place of Mphela, Jingles had something up his sleeves. The change saw Bafana beginning to get a slight edge in the midfield battle.

The result was a brilliant move by Golden Arrows star midfielder Thanduyise Khuboni in the 3rd minute of added time, a move which released Mphela and gave him a clear sight of goal for the first time in more than 90 minutes.

The Sundowns striker was grateful for the chance as he out-paced the Egyptian defence, before slotting the ball to the far right of a desperately diving Al Hadari.

It was 1-0 to South Africa, right at the end of the match! What a result, and Mosimane will celebrate this victory for many months to come.

An emotional Mosimane spoke to the SABC at the end of the match, and bragged about the tactical discipline of his team and his masterstroke substitutions.

"Many people said I should take -off Mphela in the second half, but I know this young man, I have seen him in the Confederations Cup in 2009, I have seen him against Denmark, and I was right in keeping there.

"I knew a pass like the one you saw today was long coming and he (Mphela) would put it away, and he just did," Jingles told SABC during a post-match interview.

The Bafana coach however cautioned against getting overly excited because the job hasnot been completed as yet.

"We should keep our feet on the ground, and not get too excited about this result. Yes, we are happy with the three points, but we still have to travel to Cairo and the atmosphere there will be intimidating, but we will be ready when we go there," Jingles added. 

The victory on Saturday night takes Bafana's tally to 7 points and a goal difference of plus 3 and they remain top of Group G.

South Africa have now opened a gap of 6 points over Egypt, who remain rooted at the bottom of the group with a single point out of three games, and a minus 2 goal difference.

Even if South Africa loses against Egypt in June, the result might not hurt Bafana too badly to give the Pharaohs an advantage against the current group leaders.


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