Njabulo Ngcobo of South Africa celebrates goal with teammates during the 2021 COSAFA Cup semifinal match between South Africa and Mozambique at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, on 16 July 2021 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Friday Jul 16, 2021. 19:10
South Africa proved too strong for Mozambique as they secured a 3-0 win in the 2021 COSAFA Cup semi-final match at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Friday evening.
As a result, Bafana Bafana advanced into the final where they will face Senegal on Sunday, while the Mambas are scheduled to take on Eswatini in the third-place playoff match on Saturday.
Although it was the Mambas, who threatened first through Nilton’s shot-cum-cross which was saved by goalkeeper Veli Mothwa, Bafana were the better side in the first-half.
South Africa were looking dangerous from set-pieces with new Orlando Pirates signing Monnapule Saleng delivering two good balls which were punched away by keeper Ernan.
However, Ernan was beaten in the 24th minute when Njabulo Ngcobo rose highest and headed home Siyethembe Sithebe’s well-taken set-piece to hand South Africa a 1-0 lead.
Bafana did not take their foot off the pedal after taking the lead as Ernan was forced to produce a decent save – blocking Rushine De Reuck’s headed effort a few minutes before half-time.
South Africa were leading 1-0 at the interval courtesy of Kaizer Chiefs’ new acquisition, Ngcobo’s headed goal.
The Mambas were under pressure after the restart with Bafana looking to double their lead and Ernan produced a fine save to block a shot from left-back Sifiso Ngobeni, who had made an overlapping run.
However, Mozambique were unable to clear their lines following Ernan’s save and Yusuf Maart pounced and scored with a curling shot to make it 2-0 to South Africa a minute before the hour mark.
The 1996 African champions continued to dominate and they were awarded a penalty in the 72nd minute after Victor Letsoalo was fouled by Mapangane inside the box.
Letsoalo dusted himself down and converted the spot-kick himself to make it 3-0 to the tournament hosts and he became South Africa’s all-time leading top scorer in the COSAFA Cup with four goals.
Mozambique surged forward in numbers as looked to grab a late consolation goal, but Bafana stood firm at the back, and ultimately, the match ended in a 3-0 win in favour of South Africa.
South Africa (1) 3 (Ngcobo 24′, Maart 59′, Letsoalo 73′)
Mozambique (0) 0
South Africa: Mothwa, Mobbie, De Reuck, Dube, Ngcobo, Ngobeni, Maart (Brooks 85′), Letsoalo, Mkhulise (Sibanyoni 85′), Saleng (Maboe 75′), Sithebe (Malinga 90’+3), Letsoalo (Konqobe 90’+3).
Mozambique: Ernan, Danilo, Cigano, Macaime (Mare 55′), Martinhe, Pelembe, Mapangane, Nilton, Shaquille, Melque (Novela 30′), Vitinho (Jesus 77′).