Result: Bafana 1-2 Zimbabwe
Date: 10 September 2013
Venue: Orlando Stadium
A lively Zimbabwe proved to be too much for Bafana Bafana as the Warriors claimed a 2-1 win over the hosts at the Orlando Stadium on Tuesday night.
The Warriors looked the more dangerous of the two sides and created a few decent half-chances in a slow first-half but Darren Keet did not have to make many saves. Washington Arubi, in goal at the other end, was also hardly troubled as South Africa lacked any cutting edge in the final third.
The game livened up after the interval and goals from Knowledge Musona and Cuthbert Malajila proved to be enough. Bernard Parker lashed in a very late goal but it was too little too late.
Arguably the best chance of the half came just two minutes in when Kingston Nkhatha found his Kaizer Chiefs teammate Knowledge Musona but he curled his shot over the crossbar.
Five minutes later Nkhatha charged toward a ball over the top but Keet did well to judge the danger and had come off his line to gather.
Khama Billiat was given far too much space after running toward the edge of the area in the 20th but the Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder couldn't take advantage as his shot dribbled well wide.
Siphelele Mthembu was twice slipped in by a ball into the right side of the area but first he opted to dink a cross to Parker when he should have shot, while he produced a poor touch the second time around.
Musona looked to have been played through the middle but a superb last-ditch tackle sent his shot squirting wide - though the offside flag had already been raised in what looked like a poor decision.
Nkhatha then worked Keet in the 27th minute before South Africa's best move came 10 minutes later but Parker saw the ball snatched off his toe. The resulting corner was nodded back across goal but Arubi gathered a looping header from his own defender with the help of the woodwork.
That proved to be the last real chance of the half as the game went into the break with the deadlock intact.
It was more of the same in the opening minutes of the second-half but six minutes in Musona would change that when he chested down a corner before thumping a finish past Keet.
Zimbabwe should have had two just moments later when Billiat slipped Nkhatha through but Keet came out well to block the effort.
Bafana responded on the hour mark with Parker meeting Tshepo Gumede cross but his diving header went inches wide of the target.
Bongani Zungu wasted a good cross two minutes later while Tsepo Masilela smashed an effort just wide of the angle with 15 minutes to go.
Zimbabwe then had a brilliant goal wrongfully disallowed for offside in the 81st minute when Billiat and Musona combined in real style before the latter slotted home. Musona had earlier skipped past a defender and worked Keet with a low drive.
Cuthbert Malajila missed a glorious chance with three minutes left on the clock after failing to test Keet with his shot after a great cross from Nkhatha.
In the final few seconds, Zimbabwe would finally get the goal that their play deserved though when Nkhatha strolled right through the defence for a ball over the top and squared for Malajila to fire into the bottom corner.
That goal would prove to be vital as seconds after the restart Parker produced a sensational strike from outside the area which sailed in off the underside of the crossbar. That proved to be the last kick of the game though as Zimbabwe claimed the win.
Bafana: Darren Keet, Buhle Mkhwanazi, Eric Mathoho, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Tsepo Masilela, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Hlompho Kekana, Bongani Zungu, David Mathebula, Bernard Parker, Siphelele Mthembu.
Zimbabwe: Washington Arubi, Carlington Nyadombo, Hardlife Zvirekwi, Felix Chindungwe, Onismor Bhasera, Willard Katsande, Danny Phiri, Khama Billiat, Knowledge Musona, Denver Mukamba, Kingston Nkhatha.
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