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South Africa 0-1 Zambia

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Collins Mbesuma scored the only goal of the match as defending AFCON champions Zambia defeated South Africa 1-0 in an international friendly at Soccer City on Wednesday evening.

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Having come on as a half-time substitute, the Orlando Pirates striker needed just 19 minutes to make his mark as he smashed home an unstoppable shot to secure a morale-boosting victory over the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations hosts ahead of the 2013 edition of the competition.

A significantly depleted Bafana side, due to injury, started well on a poor Soccer City pitch, with Ricardo Nunes firing in a number of early free-kicks that Kennedy Mweene was equal to.

Bafana enjoyed an early spell of possession and played the ball around with confidence, but it didn't take long for the Copper Bullets to register their first effort, Jacob Mulenga firing high and wide with a shot from the edge of the box.

Stoppila Sunzu was then relieved to see his defensive header clear the goal from a Lerato Chabangu free-kick, although it wouldn't have counted with the referee having blown for an earlier infringement.

Bernard Parker was next to try his luck with a rasping drive that flew just over the target from a long way out.

Christopher Katongo did well to deliver a cross from the right under pressure from a number of defenders but Anele Ngcongca headed clear as Zambia started to impose themselves on the match.

Itumeleng Khune easily plucked a shot from Isaac Chansa out of the air after a good drive forward from the Zambian, while Emmanuel Mayuka curled a free-kick just wide of the Bafana goal after Tokelo Rantie had upended the player on the edge of the box.

There was more woe for boss Gordon Igesund who had to replace Rantie with Katlego Mashego with the striker having picked up an injury.

Chabangu thought he had found the opener with a superb shot that hit the top of the net from the left-hand side following a short corner, while with the half winding down Khune had to be alert to deny Mulenga from a backward header following a long throw from the right hand side.

Bafana started the second half strongly with Mashego letting rip with a volley from the left-hand side that wasn't far off the target ahead of a Mbesuma effort that flew well wide of the mark.

Mashego should have done better with a first-time shot he placed wide after a good low cross as Chabangu smashed a shot wide left of the target after Zambia failed to clear their lines following a corner.

But too many missed chances were to prove costly for Bafana as Mbesuma smashed home from the left-hand side of the box after some neat build up play. The big man was given too much space and he punished the hosts with a fierce drive that flew in at the near post.

Bafana tried to hit back immediately with substitute Reneilwe Letsholonyane looking to unleash a shot from just outside the box before being closed down.

James Chamanga came close to finding a second though as a great cross from the left beat Thabo Nthethe inside the box, but the Zambia striker could not get his foot to the ball.

Mweene then made a fingertip save to keep out a long range effort from Dean Furman before another substitute, Kermit Erasmus, failed to head home a cross at the back post.

The hosts looked to end the match the stronger of the two sides but Zambia were denied a clear-cut penalty when Bongani Khumalo clipped Mbesuma in the box, but nothing was given.

And the last chance of the match saw Mweene deny Erasmus with a good save from the edge of the box before Chabangu's follow-up effort from close range was deflected behind.

Posted: 14/11/12 20:31

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