Bafana Bafana beat Malawi 5-3 on penalties to take third place in the Cosafa Cup at King Zwelithini Stadium on Sunday.
For the first time in the tournament, the hosts started the game without Sibongiseni Mthethwa or Thabo Cele in the center of midfield as Shadrack Kobedi and Genino Palace joined Rowan Human.
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Former captain Patrick Mabedi, who is currently the Flames head coach, also noticed changes with up to six changes in 11 starters. A cautious quarter-hour opening saw the first chance fall to the home side via a penalty kick.
What looked like a repeat of the routine became more clear as Tebogo Tlolane took a corner from the near corner and he met the day’s captain Katlego Mohamme but his eye-catching header went straight into Brighton’s goal.
Bafana’s top scorer in the league with three goals, Tshegofatso Mabasa was arguably the team’s best chance in the first half as he scored the winning goal in the 24th minute.
The Orlando Pirates man latched onto Kobedi but his attempted move was shot by Muntali, who was doing everything he could to keep Malawi in the game.
The half-time whistle marked the start of an entertaining game in Umlazi, fueled by the passionate fan base of both teams.
Tactically, the coach was the happiest when his 3-5-2 formation seemed to surprise the visitors and thus let the home team create chances.
Needing to control his temper and try to create an advantage in attack, the coach dragged his two players behind to take the position of Lyle Lakay and Thembela Sikhakhane while Victor Letsoalo made way for Iqraam Rayners.
The Stellenbosch man was immediately fouled when he missed an opportunity when he hit the post from inside the box in the 54th minute.
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Rayners crossed from the post to deliver Sikhakhane’s cross but his knee-jerk effort missed him when it seemed impossible.
Both sides continued to exchange blows but none came up with the all decisive touch to steal the encounter, bringing the match to an end with a penalty shoot out.