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Bafana Cement Top Spot In WC Qualifying Group With Big Win

Bafana Bafana cemented top spot in their World Cup qualifying group with a 3-1 victory over Ethiopia on Saturday afternoon.

2022 FIFA World Cup

Result: Ethiopia 1-3 South Africa

Date: 09 October 2021

Venue: Bahir Dar Stadium

Vincent Pule was injured in the warm-up and replaced in the starting line-up by Thabiso Kutumela. Meanwhile, while Terrence Mashego and Tshegofatso Mabasa also came into the side.

With 20 minutes gone, Nyiko Mobbie delivered a free-kick into the box that found Mothobi Mvala, who glanced his header wide of the left post.

Soon after, Ethiopian midfielder Surafel Dagnachew was in some space on the edge of the box and his well-struck effort was tipped over the bar by Bafana goalkeeper Ronwen Williams.

The hosts were having more of the possession but Bafana the better of the attempts. In the 32nd minute, Thabiso Kutumela ran at the Walia Ibex defence with an option to his left but opted to go it alone and hit a low effort which went just the wrong side of the left post.

There was a change for Bafana midway through the half as Mabasa came off for Victor Letsoalo, although it remains to be seen if it was tactical or forced.

Soon after, Ethiopia had a great chance to take the lead. Siyanda Xulu gave the ball away in his own box and the ball was threaded through to Abubeker Nasser but Williams denied him with a brilliant one-handed reflex save from close range, before pulling off another vital save moments later.

Bafana took the lead on the stroke of half-time when Ethiopian keeper Fasil Gebremichael made an absolute howler after he somehow let Teboho Mokoena's tame free-kick slip through his fingers.

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Ethiopia equalised in shortly after the hour mark after Kutumela gave a silly free-kick away on the edge of the box. Former Bidvest Wits striker Getaneh Kebede stepped up and curled the ball over the wall into the top right corner.

However, Bafana restored their lead soon afterwards. Mobbie took a long throw from the right-hand side and it was flicked on at the near post to the centre of the box where Mvala was on hand to complete a simple finish from close-range.

Bafana almost got the third with ten minutes to go when Mobbie delivered from the right-hand side for Evidence Makgopa, whose header hit the crossbar.

The result was put beyond doubt in the 90th minute when Makgopa played a headed one-two with Victor Letsoalo before the Baroka FC striker lobbed the onrushing keeper brilliantly to make sure of the three points and take his tally to four goals in five appearances for the national side.

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Here's how they started:

South Africa: Williams, Mobbie, Xulu, De Reuck, Mashego, Mokoena, Mvala, Brooks, Kutumela, Hlongwane, Mabasa

Subs: Mothwa, Bvuma, Maart, Blom, Ngcobo, Hlanti, Zuke, Makgopa, Letsoalo, Donn, Flerus.

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