Monday Nov 16, 2020. 17:26
Braces from Themba Zwane and Percy Tau helped South Africa secure an unconvincing but important ‘away’ win over Sao Tome and Principe at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Monday.
The Falcons and True Parrots Team gave up their home advantage to avoid unnecessary travel in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and did not appear in any way disadvantaged by not playing at their Estadio Nacional 12 de Julho in Sao Tome.
South Africa created the first clear chance 11 minutes into the match, with a long pass from midfield controlled by Lebogang Manyama, though the attacker put his subsequent shot wide of goalkeeper Aldair D’Almeida’s right-hand post.
Just a minute later Sao Tome claimed a shock lead, as poor Bafana defending from a Jardel Nazare corner kick allowed Jocy Soares to get ahead of his marker and score with a glancing header, the ball flashing past an unsighted Ronwen Williams before he could react.
The ‘away’ side laboured to come up with a response, but finally equalised through a classy goal on 39 minutes. Dean Furman’s well-placed pass allowed Themba Zwane to turn and shoot beyond the left-hand of the ‘keeper from near the penalty spot for 1-1.
SA nearly claimed the lead four minutes after the restart, with a sweeping counter seeing Zwane play a peach of a pass to cut out two defenders and put Manyama in on goal, but the Kaizer Chiefs man saw his first-time effort rebound off the inside of the post.
Bafana began building major pressure around the hour mark, calling D’Almeida into notable action a couple of times, before missing out on another great chance: on 63 minutes a cross from the left found Tau unmarked a few metres from goal, but his header went wide of the far post.
However, Tau made up for his error on 70 minutes, providing a cool finish after a slick exchange of passes from South Africa to finally open up shooting space inside the Sao Tome penalty area. With the ‘away’ side now 2-1 up, they made a double substitution which saw the introduction of Luther Singh and Kermit Erasmus off the bench.
Yet it was the ‘hosts’ who struck next, levelling the game at 2-2 in the 75th minute. Substitute Aderito Tinho provided a teasing cross which allowed Harramiz Soares to rise high and power a header beyond the helpless Williams.
Tau missed another good chance on 82 minutes – heading wide once more, this time from a Singh free kick – but his blushes were spared five minutes later when Zwane netted his second, easily tapping from close range after the ‘keeper could not hold Erasmus’ shot, making it 3-2 to the ‘visitors’.
A fourth goal for Bafana followed just a minute later, with Tau taking advantage of a massive gap in the ‘home’ side’s defence before sweeping a right-footed shot into the net to complete the scoring.
Sao Tome and Principe (1) 2 (Jocy Soares 12’, Harramiz Soares 75’)
South Africa (1) 4 (Themba Zwane 39’ 87’, Percy Tau 70’ 88’)
ST&P: Aldair D’Almeida, Harramiz Soares, Ivanaldo Mendes, Jocy Soares, Luis Leal, Jardel Nazare, Joel Neves, Lucio Oliveira (Fernandes Carvalho 75’), Dilson Quaresma, Vava Pequeno, Edmilson Viegas (Aderito Tinho 46’)
SA: Ronwen Williams, Thapelo Morena, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Mosa Lebusa, Lyle Lakay, Dean Furman, Themba Zwane (Madisha 90’), Bongani Zungu, Percy Tau, Keagan Dolly (Kermit Erasmus 71’), Lebogang Manyama (Luther Singh 71’)