Morocco grab crucial away goal in Egypt

Austin Ditlhobolo

Sunday Aug 13, 2017. 21:13

Egypt were held to a 1-1 draw by Morocco in the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier on Sunday.

The Northern Zone first-leg match took place at the Alexandria Stadium in the Egyptian city of Alexandria.

The Pharaohs, who were taking part in the CHAN qualifiers for the first time, took an early lead.

Ahmed El-Sheikh converted from the spot-kick just four minutes into the game after Egypt were awarded a penalty.

It was nearly 2-0 to Egypt a minute before the half-hour mark as they pressed the Atlas Lions.

However, Hossam Hassan’s well-taken shot went just wide of the post as the hosts looked to double their lead.

Morocco stood firm in the remaining minutes of the first-half and the score 1-0 to Egypt at the interval.

The Atlas Lions had a bright start to the second-half and they managed to level matters seven minutes after the restart.

Raja Badr was the man, who rose highest to head home a well-taken set piece – making it 1-1 in the process.

Morocco were then awarded a penalty on the hour-mark with the Atlas Lions being handed a chance to take the lead for the first time.

However, Egypt goalkeeper Mohamed Awad produced a beautiful save to deny Badr from the spot-kick.

Although, both sides launched late attacks, they could not score and the match ended in a 1-1 draw.

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South Africa grab first leg advantage

Gift Motupa of South Africa

Austin Ditlhobolo

Saturday Jul 15, 2017. 17:40

South Africa brushed aside Botswana 2-0 in the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier Southern Zone first-leg match at the Francistown on Saturday.

The two sides are scheduled to meet again the second-leg in Moruleng, South Africa next weekend and the winner on aggregate will face either Swaziland or Zambia in the third round.

Bafana Bafana started the match brightly and they were awarded a free-kick in a promising area just six minutes into the encounter.

Teboho Mokoena then stepped up and forced Botswana goalkeeper Mwampule Masule, who was well-positioned, into a comfortable save.

The Zebras then took control of the match pressing Bafana, but they were finding it difficult to penetrate the visitors’ defence.

The deadlock was broken two minutes before the half-hour mark after the Botswana defence was exposed and it was Ryan Moon, who scored for Bafana.

The striker beat his marker, before firing past Masule to make it 1-0 to South Africa and Moon became one of the few players, who have scored for Bafana on debut.

Botswana had to find a way to respond with a goal and in the 36th minute, Thero Setsile’s header narrowly missed South Africa keeper Boafela Pule’s goal-posts.

Pressure was mounting on the Bafana defence and Pule produced two good saves in the closing stages of the first-half and the score was 1-0 to South Africa at half-time.

David Bright, the Botswana coach, made two changes in the first 10 minutes of the second-half with Lemponye Tshireletso and Thabang Sesinyi coming on.

However, the Zebras struggled to penetrate the Bafana defence and Gift Motupa nearly doubled the visitors’ lead just after the hour-mark.

The midfielder-cum-striker turned well, before unleashing a shot which narrowly missed the target as the South Africans pressed the home side.

Motupa made amends in the 72nd minute when he scored to make it 2-0 to South Africa with Cole Alexander grabbing an assist with a great pass.

The momentum was with the visitors in the closing stages of the match and Bafana captain Mario Booysen’s header narrowly missed the target in the 79th minute.

Masule was called into action six minutes later and he made a good save to deny Motupa, who was looking for his second goal of the encounter.

South Africa held on to their lead in the dying minutes of the encounter and they ran out 2-0 winners over Botswana on the day.

Botswana (0)

SA (1) 2 (Moon 28′, Motupa 72′)

Botswana: Masule, Leinanyane, Kgaswane, Mathumo, Leririma, Gaolaolwe, Legwaila, Seakanyeng, Moyo (Sesinyi 51′), Setsile (Tshireletso 54′), Orebonye.

SA: Pule, Nhlapo, Malepe, Mvala, Booysen, Khumalo, Mokoena, Alexander, Norodien (Modise 81′, Ntshangase 88′), Motupa, Moon (Webber 65′).

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Botswana out to grab first leg advantage

Thabo Cele of South Africa challenged by Tumisang Orebonye of Botswana during 2017 Cosafa Castle Cup match between Botswana and South Africa at Moruleng Stadium in Rustenburg on 04 July 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Austin Ditlhobolo

Friday Jul 14, 2017. 13:30

Botswana will take on South Africa in the 2018 African Nations Championship qualifier Southern Zone first-leg match at the Francistown on Saturday.

Kick-off is at 15h30 CAT.

The Zebras have never qualified for the CHAN finals and the Southern African side will be keen to make history by booking their place in the 2018 finals.

Botswana participated in the recent 2017 COSAFA Cup in South Africa were they lost to Zambia and South Africa.

Newly appointed Zebras head coach David Bright will be looking to mastermind a home victory over South Africa.

Meanwhile, South Africa have participated in two CHAN finals (in 2011 and 2014). Their best finish was when they were knocked out of the quarterfinals in 2011.

Bafana Bafana hosted the recent 2017 COSAFA Cup and they finished fifth after beating Namibia in the plate final.

Stuart Baxter, the Bafana coach, will hoping to mastermind another victory over the Zebras in Botswana ahead of the second-leg clash.

The winner on aggregate between Botswana and South Africa will take on either Swaziland or Zambia in the final round of the qualifying campaign.

Refreee Willengton Kaoma, who hails from Zambia, will be in charge of the encounter between Botswana and South Africa in Francistown.

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Sfaxien grab a vital point in Rustenburg

Mohamed Ndoye of CS Sfaxien challenged by Willem Mwedihanga of Platinum Stars during the CAF Confederation Cup match between Platinum Stars and CS Sfaxien on 21 June 2017 at Royal Bafokeng Stadium © Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Wednesday Jun 21, 2017. 20:55

An equaliser from Maher Hannachi ensured CS Sfaxien draw 1-1 in their CAF Confederations Cup, Group B match against Platinum Stars on Wednesday at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium.

The draw sees Jorge Costa’s men moving to the second spot with seven points from four matches in the group and will hope to beat Mbabane Swallows on Friday, June 30 at home.

For the hosts, they found the back of the net through Bongonkosi Ntuli’s strike as they failed to claim their maiden win in the group.

Despite a cagey start, the 18th minute saw a good shot by Waliou Ndoye as he pounced on a loose ball, but Stars’ goalkeeper Mbongeni Mzimela was equal to the task and produced a brilliant save.

Dikwena pushed forward in the 24th minute and Ndumiso Mabena played a beautiful ball into the penalty area after beating his marker on the edge of the box, yet Abia Nale failed to capitalise on shaky handling by keeper Mohamed Gaaloul.

In the 32nd minute, Mzimela’s good anticipation saw him producing a vital touch in the box from a cross as Costa’s men kept knocking for an opening goal.

With three minutes to go the break, Hannachi received a brilliant pass in the box, but the striker failed to keep his shot on target with only Mzimela to beat.

It was 0-0 at half time.

It took the hosts 58 minutes to break the deadlock when Ntuli poked the ball home from close range after a wonderful cross from the right flank through Sphiwe Mnguni,1-0.

Hannachi tapped in a cross from the left wing by Firas Chouat in the 76th minute to make it 1-1.

With nine minutes to go, the North Africans nearly claimed the lead when Hannachi’s effort was punched away by Mzimela whose positioning was spot on.

Dikwena also showed a sense of urgency and Robert Ng’ambi came close to finding the lead when he saw his well directed header going inches wide from a corner.

In the end, the South Africans failed to claim their first win in the competition as they will now face MC Alger away in Algiers on Friday, June 30.

Resulting from this draw, Willem Jackson’s men remain placed at the bottom of the table with two points from two draws.

Platinum Stars: (0) 1 (Ntuli 58′)

CS Sfaxien: (0) 1 (Hananchi 76′)

Platinum Stars: Mzimela, Mnguni, Mwedihanga, Mlilo, Mpeta, Mere, Mathe, Ng’ambi, Nale (Senne 46′), Mabena (Links 83′), Ntuli (Shilongo 86′)

CS Sfaxien: Gaaloul, Mathlouthi, Amamou, Dagdoug, Kamoun (Chouat 65′), Marzouki (Habbassi 77′), Niang, Meriah, Sokari, Hannachi, Ndoye

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