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SA pip Zimbabwe in Cosafa shootout

Clive Rupiya of Zimbabwe, right, battles for the ball with James Monyane of SA. / Chris Ricco/BackpagePix
Clive Rupiya of Zimbabwe, right, battles for the ball with James Monyane of SA. / Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

South Africa retained their title at the 2018 Cosafa Under-20 Championships after a tense final against Zimbabwe yesterday, defeating their rivals 4-3 on penalties following a 1-1 draw.

Goalkeeper and captain Khulekani Kubheka saved two spot-kicks in the shootout after earlier being at fault for the Zimbabwe goal as Amajita head to the African Under-20 Championships in Niger next February with their regional trophy retained.

Delic Murimba had given Zimbabwe a second-half lead but the prolific Lyle Foster from Orlando Pirates scored for the fourth game running to level matters and leave both players top of the scorers' list for the tournament with five goals.

The game went to a shoot-out and Kubheka proved the hero, making two fine saves to take his side to the victory.

Nkosingiphile Ngcobo from Kaizer Chiefs had a first real sniff of goal for South Africa but his shot was blocked for a corner and from the resultant set-piece, SuperSport United's Luke le Roux saw his header tipped over the bar by Zimbabwe goalkeeper Tinotenda Ali.

Foster had an excellent chance to give Amajita the lead just before the half-hour mark, showing his immense strength to burst through the Zimbabwe defenders, but his shot clipped the post.

It was Zimbabwe who broke the deadlock against the run of play, a poor back-pass from Ngcobo giving Murimba the opportunity to chip Kubheka and score his fifth goal of the competition.

Kubheka, who is loan at National First Division side Cape Umoya United from Mamelodi Sundowns, did not need to rush off his line to the edge of the box when there was defensive cover.

It was the first goal SA had conceded in Zambia.

Amajita were level on 84 minutes, though, and it was Foster to the rescue again.

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