Amajita bows out of the 8-Nations with honour


FANS at the Athlone Stadium in Cape Town were treated to a thrilling 8-Nation International Tournament semi-final which saw Brazil inching out South Africa 4-3 on penalties after the match had ended 2-2 after extra time.

Amajita, spurred on by a lively and sizable home crowd, took the game to their more illustrious opponents in the opening 20 minutes.

The South Africans played some incisive, exciting football, at times mesmerising their opponents with the skill and pace of their attacks.

Snethemba Ngidi, Thabanbi Mthembu and Cebo Meyiwa were particularly prominent for the host nation in a storming opening, during which time their best chance saw Junior Sibande volleying a corner kick straight at the Brazil keeper.

So it was certainly against the run of play that Brazil were to score the opener in the 26th minute, the goal being netted from a low first time shot by Misael Bueno, following a pin point cross from Bruno Mendes.

Character was needed by Amajita, and the players obliged.

The equaliser was a well worked move, ending with Mthembu taking the ball on the edge of the box, running across a defender and lashing a 16-yard shot past Matheus de Oliveria; 1-1 on the half hour mark.

But, parity was only to last for 10 minutes when Amajita gifted Brazil a goal as Gershi Kock fumbled a routine shot, before he and defender Sibande became entangled and ended up combining to put the ball in his own net.

To Kock’s credit he had twice earlier done really well to rush off his line and intercept moves that had seen Brazil bearing down on goal.

After the restart Amajita were able to reassert themselves as they again found their rhythm.

In the 54th minute Mthembu broke clear of the Brazil defence, but succeeded only in dragging the ball across the goal, not missing by much.

Three minutes later Ngidi was also close when he curled a left-footed shot onto the roof of the net.

The hosts then lost their momentum somewhat and had to apply some last ditch defending to keep out a goal-mouth scramble 10 minutes from time.

But they soon regrouped before again starting to threaten the visitors’ goal.

And the reward for their persistence came, when, with eight minutes of regulation time left, Sibande whipped in a dangerous ball at the near post, which saw Mthembu doing superbly to head into goal from an awkward angle.

Closing minutes saw all the action taking place in the Brazil box as South Africa surged forward powerfully for a winner, but they could not find a way past a desperate Brazil defence, taking the match to extra time.

Amajita had the first chance of extra time when Maselaelo Seango hit a beautiful 35-yard shot which was bound for the top corner until de Oliveira made a superb diving save.

Seun Ledwaba then brought out another great save from de Oliveira with a shot from the edge of the box.

There was a chance apiece in the second half of extra time as Mthembu just failed to get a decisive touch on Ledwaba’s cross, while at the other end Jean Deretti was inches wide with a grass-cutter.

The game went to penalties and each team missed a spot kick, before Daylon Appolis was unlucky enough to see his penalty hit the upright.


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