In what was an entertaining AFCON third-place playoff to cap off their remarkable tournament journeys, Bafana Bafana defeated DR Congo 6-5 on penalties to secure the bronze medal.
Despite so many chances in the 90 minutes from end-to-end for both sides to wrap up the game, they couldn’t utilise them and went straight to the spot kicks after the final whistle of the second 45.
Bafana made three changes to their line-up that took on Nigeria on Wednesday. Nkosinathi Sibisi, Mihlali Mayambela and Thapelo Morena were given starts, replacing Grant Kekana [red card], Mothobi Mvala and Al Ahly star Percy Tau.
Meanwhile, The Leopards made a number of changes to their starting team that lost to the host nation Côte d’Ivoire three days ago.
SA were slowing down the pace in the opening changes as they were trying to build up and Les Léopards kept on pushing up to disallow them the space to play. Both sides produced some scary moments in their last thirds as they could get behind each other’s defence.
Moments later, it was Broos’ men who seemed to be in control of possession but struggling to find the breakthrough. And while DRC were playing in patches, they were somewhat sharp when attacking.
In the 28th minute, Simon Banza received a pass inside the box, drilled it to the middle of the goal but Ronwen Williams made a comfortable save, stopping the effort.
The match went on until it reached the interval with 0-0 scoreline on the board.
BAFANA BAFANA CLOSE TO BEING CAUGHT OUT SEVERAL TIMES AFTER HALF-TIME
DRC came close to catch SA napping a number of times during the first ten minutes of the second stanza as they entered the box repeatedly seeking an early goal.
The Southern Africa side showed many signs of fatigue and the opponents were looking to exploit on that. The 1996 champions captain Williams was called into action many times and was there to keep his side in the game.
In the 64th minute, the Leopards failed to capitalise on Williams’ blunder who failed to handle the ball in the box but Aubrey Modiba immediately cleared the lines to rescue his side.
In the 89th minute, Fiston Mayele had a glorious chance to snatch it in the end for DRC after brilliant control but he skewed it well wide. As the two sides couldn’t be separated in 90 minutes, the match went straight to penalties.
Bafana went on to secure the third-place finish at AFCON after they won 6-5 in the penalty shootout.