South Africa went top of Group A after registering their second successive win in this year’s Cosafa Cup tournament. Bafana Bafana registered a one-nil win over a 10-men Eswatini in Gqeberha, earlier on Thursday afternoon.
— Bafana Bafana (@BafanaBafana) July 8, 2021
It was another unconvincing win by the tournament hosts after they also beat Botswana with the same scoreline.
The visitors, who matched their more fancied opponents pound for pound in the first half, suffered a major blow when their captain Felix Badenhorst was red-carded on the stroke of half-time after a second bookable offence.
Despite playing with a man down, Eswatini came close to scoring at the start of the second half, but Bafana Bafana captain Veli Mothwa made a brilliant save.
Thabang Sibanyoni came off the bench to put Bafana Bafana ahead in the 59th minute. Mothwa kept South Africa in the lead with another important save 12 minutes from time.
With only the keeper to beat, Kagiso Malinga failed to stretch South Africa’s lead three minutes before regulation time. Eswatini also came close to scoring in injury time, but Bafana Bafana managed to hold on for a one-nil win.
Eswatini was looking for their first win against South Africa in nine matches.
Lesotho beat Zambia
In an earlier match, Lesotho produced the first major upset of the tournament when they beat favourites and defending champions, Zambia, 2-1.
Defending champions Zambia were looking for a win in their opening match of the 2021 Cosafa Cup tournament. They came up against Lesotho, a side that wanted to redeem themselves after losing 3-1 to Eswatini in the opening match of the tournament on Tuesday.
Zambia had a lot of familiar faces in their starting line up including veteran keeper Kennedy Mweene as well as forwards Justin Shonga and Augustine Mulenga.
The six-time champions controlled the match from the word go and it came as no surprise when Shonga put them in the lead in the 29th minute after a goalkeeping blunder.
Mulenga almost doubled Zambia’s lead 11 minutes before the break. The Zambians enjoyed a slender lead at half-time, despite having enjoyed almost 65% of possession.
Lesotho fluffed their best chance of the match to find the equaliser, 12 minutes into the second half. Zambia was also wasteful in front of goal.
Substitute, Motebang Sera, eventually scored the equaliser for Lesotho 20 minutes before regulation time.
Lesotho was unlucky not to be awarded a penalty 12 minutes from time after Sera was fouled inside the box, but the assistant referee raised his flag for an off-side. But Sera was not to be denied three minutes from time when he completed his brace for Lesotho’s first-ever win against Zambia.