Liberia 1-2 South Africa: LoneStar Squander Another Opportunity to Play Afcon- Latest African News
Bafana Bafana matters on a knife-edge for the whole game, but they made it through to the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Ivory Coast next year after beating Liberia 2-1 in Monrovia on Tuesday.
Head coach Hugo Broos can breathe a huge sigh of relief after his post-match meltdown put his job in jeopardy following the 2-2 draw to the same opponent’s Group K at home.
As in Orlando last Friday, Bafana got on the scoreboard first through their target man, this time Zakhele Lephasa, who, like Percy Tau when he won the penalty Lyle Foster converted, profited from a ball over the Liberian defense.
The on-loan SuperSport United striker, who has been in red-hot form since leaving parent club Orlando Pirates, controlled brilliantly and finished past Tommy Songo in the Liberian goal after 18 minutes.
At the other end, Liberia’s skipper and center forward William Jebor targeted Bafana center-back Mothobi Mvala, who conceded the brainless free-kick that led to Liberia clawing back to 2-1 at Orlando Stadium.
Mvala looked shaky, which was at odds with his form for DStv Premiership defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns, who’ve made huge strides in this year’s CAF Champions League as well.
The entire Bafana backline looked suspect, especially in the middle of the defense, where Siyanda Xulu was the most experienced member. They made Jebor look like Didier Drogba or even Liberian President and former Ballon d’Or, George Weah.
Indeed, Jebor got his reward after rolling Xulu, turning, and finishing from improbable range past Bafana skipper Ronwen Williams for 1-1 after 34 minutes.
Williams got a weak palm on the shot that rolled, almost in slow motion, into the net.
The brain fog didn’t clear for Bafana as the players and technical staff lost their cool.
The visitors had a three-on-two counter but Thapelo Morena, known for his cutting acute finishes at the club level, chose to pass when he had only the goalkeeper to beat down the right, and recipient Innocent Maela was flagged offside.
On the bench, SA’s team manager Vincent Tseka, who opposed the offside call, was sent off for dissent.
At the break, it was advantage Liberia, even though it was 1-1, due to separation rule 14.1.3, which says “away goals scored in head-to-head matches among tied team” will determine who progresses.
For Bafana, the equation was still simple: win and you go to the Ivory Coast in January and the visitors did what they needed.