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Fans Return As Bafana Reclaim Top Spot In WC Qualifiers

Bafana Bafana gave the returning supporters something to shout about after defeating Ethiopia to reclaim top spot in their FIFA World Cup qualifying group.

2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier

Result: South Africa 1-0 Ethiopia

Date: 12 October 2021

Venue: FNB Stadium

Click through the gallery above to see fans back in the FNB Stadium.

Hugo Broos made four changes to the Bafana starting line-up with Victor Letsoalo, Evidence Makgopa, Yusuf Maart and Njabulo Ngcobo coming into the side.

For the first time in 18 months, fans were in attendance at a sports stadium in the country, although only 2000 were allowed entry.

The pace of the game was fast and furious in the opening exchanges. Ethiopia had a penalty appeal turned down after Abubeker Nasser's shot appeared to strike the arm of Rushine de Reuck.

Bafana took the lead in the 11th minute. Maart delivered an in-swinging corner to the back post which Letsoalo headed goal-bound and Getaneh Kebede tried to clear but ended up putting the ball into his own net.

Bafana then survived a scare as Mesud Mohamed's long-range effort grazed the top of Ronwen Williams' crossbar before Kebede went close with a snap shot in the box.

Bafana missed a glorious opportunity to double their lead when Bongokuhle Hlongwane broke free on right after a counter-attack and delivered a low cross into the area which Letsoalo blazed over from close range.

Have a look at some of the Bafana coaches since 1992...

Five minutes after the interval, Ethiopia's dangerous number nine and former Bidvest Wits and University of Pretoria player Kebede tried his luck from an acute angle on the right but it went slightly wide and high of the near post.

Soon after, Nyiko Mobbie delivered from the right-hand side for an unmarked Makgopa and he scuffed his effort wide but the flag went up for offside anyway.

Makgopa was then involved again as this time Teboho Mokoena found him from the right and the Baroka striker produced a deft chip over Ethiopia goalkeeper Fasil Gebremichael but Suleman Hamid got back just in the nick of time to clear the ball off the line.

Williams was almost caught out in the final 10 minutes when he dallied on the ball too long and his clearance was charged down but luckily it did not amount to anything.

Bafana were just about holding on in the final stages as Abel Yalew volleyed over from Remedan Yusuf's cross from the right-hand side with five minutes to go.

Ethiopia had one last chance and it was from a free-kick but Yalew's effort went narrowly wide of the left-hand post as Bafana held on for the three points.

Here's how they started:

South Africa: Williams, Mobbie, Xulu, De Reuck, Mashego, Ngcobo, Maart, Hlongwane, Mokoena, Letsoalo, Makgopa.

Subs: Mothwa, Bvuma, Hlanti, Fleurs, Zuke, Blom, Donn, Brooks, Kutumela, Mabasa.

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