BAFANA Bafana made a perfect start to the CHAN tournament with a gritty 3-1 win over Mozambique in an exciting opening game at Cape Town Stadium last night.
After a nervy start in which the Mambas of Mozambique took a surprise lead in the 10th minute, Bafana hit their strides and duly won the crucial opening game comfortably.
Mozambique took a shock lead in the 10th minute through Diogo Alberto when his shot took a wicked deflection off Thato Mokeke to give the minnows a surprise 1-0 lead.
After the goal, Bafana immediately woke up from their slumber which had characterised their opening play, camping in Mozambique half. Sibusiso Vilakazi had his firm header brilliantly saved by Soares Soares as the hosts desperately searched for the equaliser soon after.
However, the Mambas midfielder looked comfortable on the ball and thwarted most of Bafana attempts at making the inroads.
Midfielder Lerato Chabangu had a snap shot going over the bar soon after Katlego Mashego had seen his free kick going just wide.
Mashego then hit the post as Bafana continued to pour forward.
The second goal for Bafana had to come as Hlompo Kekana rifled home a thunderbolt from just inside the halfway line in the 57th minute with a spectacular shot that shook the roof of the net as Cape Town Stadium erupted into raptures.
Parker then made it safe with a sweet finish in the 81st minute to make sure the home side would not €finish the match nervously.
The match, which observed a minute of silence for Mozambican-born Portuguese international Eusebio, was attended by President Jacob Zuma, CAF President, Issa Hayatou, Minister of Sport and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula and SAFA President Danny Jordaan.
Starting line ups:
SOUTH AFRICA: Itumeleng Khune, Thabo Nthethe, Bryce Moon, Buhle Mkwanazi, Thato Mokeke, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Lerato Chabangu, Sibusiso Vilakazi, Hlompho Kekana, Benard Parker, Katlego Mashego
MOZAMBIQUE: Soares Soares, Francisco Miocha, Dario Khan, Saddam Guambe, Monis Chimene, Almiro Lobo, Alanio Mafumo, Josemar Machaisse, Guilherme Manhique, Diogo Alberto, Apsone Manjate.
In another Group A match, Mali surprised the reigning AFCON champions, Nigeria with a 2-1 victory with goals scored by Abdoulve Sissoko and Adama Traore with Fuad Salami scoring Nigeria’s consolation goal.
The competition continues today with Group B teams taking each other in Cape Town’s Athlone Stadium with Zimbabwe taking on Morocco at 5pm then followed by Uganda and Bukina Faso’s clash at 8pm.-www.safa.net