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Hlongwane hands Bafana first win of World Cup qualifying campaign

Bongokuhle Hlongwane, Bafana Bafana
(Image credit: Baackpagpeix)

Bongokuhle Hlongwane’s late strike handed Bafana Bafana a 1-0 win over Ghana at the FNB Stadium on Monday night to hand the South Africans their first win of their Qatar 2020 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Hugo Broos made two changes to the line-up which drew 0-0 against Zimbabwe last Friday as Bongokuhle Hlongwane and Ethan Brooks handed starts with Gift Links and Luther Singh moving to the bench.

The Black Stars, on the other hand, were forced into several changes with only goalkeeper Richard Ofori, Aleksander Djiku, Mubarak Wakaso and Andre Ayew keeping their place from the team who claimed a win over Ethiopia last week.

Despite the changes Ghana got off to a positive start and had an early chance as Wakaso tested Rowen Williams with a free kick from the edge of the box, but the South African captain snapped up the shot to snuff out the danger.

Bafana slowly started to grow into the game and had a chance of their own from a set play just after the 30-minute mark as Richard Ofori fumbled Teboho Mokoena’s free kick into the path of Mothobi Mvala, but the Mamelodi Sundowns star blasted his effort over the bar.

Hugo Broo’s chargers thought they broke the deadlock eight minutes before the break as Nyiko Mobbie picked out Percy Tau at the back post, the forward made no mistake in guiding his header past Ofori, but the flag was raised for offsides despite replays suggesting otherwise.

0-0 at the break with Bafana looking the better of the two sides heading into the break.

The South Africans picked up where they left off at the start of the second half and should have taken the lead just after the restart when Ofori let Mokoena’s cross slip through his legs but Evidence Makgopa somehow managed to hit his shot wide with an empty goal gapping.

Bafana had another chance with 60 minutes gone as Percy Tau’s corner was flicked on by Makgopa but there was nobody at the back post to get the final touch.

Broo’s chargers were trying to ramp up the pressure as Mvala went close with an acrobatic over-head kick with 68 minutes gone.

The breakthrough, however, eventually did come seven minutes before the end of the 90 as Bongokuhle Hlongwane found himself in the right place to deflect a cross into the Ghanian net to hand his side a late lead.

Bafana managed to see out the remaining minutes with relative ease to pick up their first win of the qualifying campaign.