Bafana Bafana progressed to the final of the Four Nations friendly tournament after defeating Angola 6-5 on penalties at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola, Zambia, on Wednesday afternoon.
After the scoreline read 1-1 after 90 minutes, the match went straight to a penalty shoot-out to determine the winner.
After the initial five penalties, it was still all-square at 4-4, and it needed a sudden death shoot-out to see who plays the winner of Zimbabwe and hosts Zambia in the final on Saturday.
Bafana goalkeeper Darren Keet pulled off a crucial save in the shoot-out and substitute Sibusiso Vilakazi stuck the winning penalty goal.
Earlier on, Angola made the early running in the match as Bafana looked to just settle down and find their feet.
The South Africans finally got into gear, with Reeve Frosler finding space down the right to drill in a great cross, but Aubrey Modibe’s header was saved by Angolan goalkeeper Lando Mavanga.
With both teams then accustomed to their surroundings, the game opened up and opportunities were created, with Dean Furman shooting narrowly wide for Bafana, and Herenilson Carmo forcing a save from Keet.
In the 31st minute, though, Angola took a 1-0 lead. Bafana central defender Buhle Mkhwanazi’s poorly-placed back-pass to Keet was intercepted by Djalma Campo and the attacker was able to comfortably steer the ball into the net. Sifiso Hlanti could have equalised for Bafana just before the break, but his effort sailed over crossbar.
Five minutes into the second half, Bafana drew level at 1-1 when Lebo Mothiba netted with a cheeky back heel.
There was an opening for the South Africa in the 68th minute when Phakamani Mahlambi set up Bongani Zungu, but the midfielder’s shot was blocked by the Angolan defence.
Bafana coach Stuart Baxter then made two substitutions, with Ryan Moon replacing Mahlambi and Siphesihle Ndlovu coming in for Modiba.
With Bafana piling on the pressure, they had a chance to go in front when Furman’s free-kick opened things up for Zungu, but again his shot blocked by the opposition defence. Moon then had an inviting opportunity, but the Kaizer Chiefs striker only succeeded in flashing his header wide of the target.
With four minutes to go, and the South Africans in desperate search of a winner, Baxter made his final change, bringing on Vilakazi for Zungu. But 1-1 is how it finished and the game was decided by the lottery of penalty kicks.