Keeper saves Bafana blushes

Gift Links of SA flies over Juma Balinya of Uganda during their Cosafa Cup match yesterday.
Gift Links of SA flies over Juma Balinya of Uganda during their Cosafa Cup match yesterday.
Image: Gallo Images

Goalkeeper Mondli Mpoto proved the hero as SA squeezed into the final of the Plate competition at the Cosafa Cup with a 4-2 penalty shootout victory over Uganda in Durban last night.

The match had finished 1-1 as SA overcame a slow start to force the game into a shootout as Luther Singh equalised following another fine all-round performance that earned him the man of the match.

But Mpoto won it for the home side as he saved in the shootout from Mustafa Kizza and then saw Muzamiru Mutyaba crash his shot against the post.

SA now go into Friday's Plate final with the chance to retain the trophy they won last year and also provide another 90 minutes for coach David Notoane as he fine-tunes his squad for the Africa Under-23 Championship qualifier against Zimbabwe in September.

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Notoane made six changes to his side from the team that drew 2-2 with Botswana, having promised to use his full squad in the competition.

Out went goalkeeper Reyaad Pieterse, defenders Tercious Malepe and Reeve Frosler, midfielders Athenkosi Dlala and Grant Margeman, and forward Liam Jordan.

Mpoto took over in goals, while there were debuts for defenders Keanu Cupido and Bongani Sam. Gift Links, Sipho Mbule and Thendo Mukumela also came into the starting line-up.

Uganda should have been in front inside the opening 10 minutes when hesitancy in the SA defence left Juma Balinya with a chance from two yards out, but the Police FC forward was denied by Mpoto.

Sam limped off just 10 minutes into his debut with a hamstring issue, to be replaced by Jamie Webber, and shortly afterwards Keanu Cupido came close to a goal on debut when his header from a superb Singh cross came back off the crossbar.

Jemondre Dickens came on for his debut at the break, but within seconds of the restart, Uganda had the lead.

Uganda were battling to hold on to the ball and after they coughed up possession to Dickens, he fed Singh in behind the defence to strike.

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