South Africa U/17....(0) 2
Mali U/17................(1) 2
The South African National Under-17 side, Amajimbos on Thursday conjured up an amazing come-from-behind 2-2 draw with Mali to keep their chances of qualifying for the World Cup in Chile very much alive.
Having seen their 2-0 lead against Ivory Coast on Monday pegged back, it was the chance of the South Africans to perform a Herculean effort of scoring two late goals in the second half to rescue what appeared a lost cause.
It was Mali that did all the running in the opening minutes and it came as little surprise when they opened the scoring in the 18th minute. Instead of savouring their lead, it was the big West Africans who continued to push forward and were all over Amajimbos in the first 45 minutes.
They created several more chances after the break and went 2-0 up in the 60th minute through hard-running striker Traore.
But typical of this Amajimbos side, they refused to lie down and upped their tempo getting the all-important goal in the 74th minute before completing an amazing comeback a few minute later. South Africa’s goals were scored by Luvuyo Mkatshana and Katlego Mohamme respectively.
South Africa could have taken the lead soon after levelling the scores as they swarmed the Malian goal but were denied by some good goalkeeping and tight marking from the tall West Africans.
Molefi Ntseki’s side can seal a berth into the World Cup in Chile later this year by beating Cameroon on Sunday.
“I believe that our game plan worked very well apart from us conceding too early. We knew that the Malians would come at us, but in the beginning of the match they didn’t give us room to play which is why we had to slow the match down in the second half. The boys regained their confidence, we made very crucial substitutions and we kept pushing to ensure that we got the goals we needed,” said Ntseki.
South Africa: Mondli Mpoto; Katlego Mohamme; Thendo Mukumela; Simon Nqoi; Notha Ngcobo; Athenkosi Dlala; Wiseman Meyiwa; Sibongakonke Mbatha; Nelson Maluleke(c; Vuyo Mantjie; Khanyisa Mayo.