By MJ Majuru
A first-half wonder strike by Riyaad Norordien and last-minute goal by Judas Moseamedi was enough to seal victory for Bafana Bafana against Botswana in the Cosafa Cup plate semifinal at the Moruleng Stadium on Tuesday night.
Botswana were the first to get off their starting blocks with the aim of ending Bafana Bafana’s dominance over them. The two sides last met in last year’s final where Bafana won 3-2 on penalties.
The opener could have come as early as the second minute for the Zebras after a poor clearance from Bruce Bvuma was not capitalised on by Tumisang Orebonye, much to the relief of the young Bafana keeper.
Bvuma was called into action a few minutes later after the Bafana defence was stretched from a quick counter with Lemponye Tshireletso finding himself one on one with Bvuma, who did well to come off his line and make the save.
The home side slowly started getting into their traditional passing game with Portugal-based youngster Thabo Cele pulling the strings in the middle of the park.
The opener eventually came for Bafana in the 32nd minute after a good passage of play saw Riyaad Norodien being teed up beautifully by Mohau Mokate for the Orlando Pirates winger to finish clinically with his weaker foot.
Bafana’s joy was almost cut short just a few minutes later when Mario Booysen gave away possession in a dangerous area for Orebonye to take a shot but found Bvuma on high alert.
Mokate could have sent Bafana to the break with a two-goal cushion after a good ball from Lebohang Maboe found the nippy forward in a good position, but he sent his effort narrowly wide of goal in the 45th minute.
Coming into the second half, Botswana kept pressing hard in search of the equaliser.
A dangerous free kick floated into the danger area found the head of Lesego Galenamotlhale, who almost caught Bvuma off guard but he failed to direct his effort on target.
Cole Alexander almost made an immediate impact after coming on for Thabo Cele on the hour mark when miscommunication between Moretsi Mosimanyana and the keeper almost resulted in Alexender getting a shot in before the keeper recovered the ball.
Despite sending more numbers forward, Botswana were unable to break the stubborn Bafana defence. A good opportunity came in the 67th minute when a venomous strike from Simsani Mathumo from far out was brilliantly parried over the bar by Bvuma.
The Zebras continued piling on the pressure, which opened them up at the back as a quick counter by Bafana Bafana concluded with a good ball from Maboe finding substitute Judas Moseamedi, who comfortably slotted home to put the match beyond reach of the Zebras.