The South African Under-20 Men’s National Team, Amajita were held to a 1-1 draw by Lithuania here in St Petersburg, Russia on Saturday afternoon in their opening game of the Commonwealth Cup. The South Africans take on Tajikistan tomorrow at 16:00 (15:00 SA time) before rounding off their group stage matches with a match on Tuesday against Kazakhstan. Coach David Notoane said he would take a point in the opening game but said he hoped for a huge improvement from his players in the second game on Sunday against Tajikistan.
“I will take a point though I am disappointed because we dominated possession and missed a glut of chances. But such things happen in any opening game,” he told a post-match press conference. Amajita started the brightest pinning Lithuania in their own half and it came as no surprise when Tshepo Liphoko gave the South Africans a deserved lead in the 9th minute with a good finish following a good cross by from Tlotlo Leepile.
The goal looked like the right tonic Amajita needed as they literally camped in the Lithuanians half but Maphosa Modiba and Pule Maraisane hit the crossbar and the later pushed his effort wide respectively as they pushed for the elusive second goal. As Lithuania struggled to fashion their own attacks, the Under-20s missed a host of other chances despite completely dominating play. They were made to pay for these missed chances as, from Lithuania’s very first attack in the 31st minute, they scored through Krusnauskas Rokas whose effort hit the upright before the ball rolled into the net.
Amajita upped the tempo after this setback but hardworking Maraisane hit the side-netting in the 44th minute as the two teams went to half time deadlocked. Thamsanqa Masiya then wasted a golden opportunity midway through the second half by blasting the ball over the bar from hardly two meters as the match remained deadlocked. Amajita missed yet another chance late in the match following a good cross by Maphosa but the ball found no takers inside the box as South Africa started to show frustration.
In the 80th minute, Tlotlo tried with a long range shot but his pile-driver was well saved by the Lithuanian keeper as the two teams remained deadlocked at 1-1.