Malawi beat Bafana Bafana 5-4 on penalties in the COSAFA Cup plate semi-finals at Royal Bafokeng on Wednesday night, with South Africa again paying the price for failing to convert numerous chances during normal time. Despite dominating most of the proceedings during normal time, it was the same story for the home side as the forwards took turns to spurn the few chances that came their way. And during penalty shoot-out, Marc Van Heerden and Siyabonga Nhlapho missed their spot kicks as Malawi proceeded to the Plate final where they will play Zambia in the final on Friday.
Bafana Bafana made the early running and both Madisha and Marc van Heerden saw their respective attempts pushed away for corner kicks. The pattern of play continued throughout the first half in which Bafana literally camped in Malawi area but lacked that killer punch as was the case with the Botswana game which also ended goalless. Thapelo Morena was then replaced by Mduduzi Nyanda towards the end of the first half as Mashaba pushed for more urgency upfront.
Malawi who relied on sporadic counter-attacks in the first half, again sat back and hardly manufactured their own attacks but tested Jackson Mabokgwane with a long range shot in the opening minutes of the second half as play got bogged down in the middle of the park. Gift Motupa was then carried off in the 60th minute and was replaced by Hendrick Ekstein as no breakthrough looked eminent.
Phumelelo Bhengu made way for Lebogang Manyama two minutes later. As Bafana Bafana continued to pile on the pressure, Tlou Segolela hit the side-netting from a very promising position on the 75th minute. There was little action thereafter as the match headed to penalties.
South Africa starting XI: Jakson Mabokgwane (c), Siyabonga Nhlapo, Kwanda Mngonyama, Clayton Daniels, Gift Motupa (Hendrick Ekstein 60th min), Marc Van Heerden, Thapelo Morena (Mduduzi Nyanda 43rd min), Motjeka Madisha, Phumelele Bhengu (Lebogang Manyama 62nd min), Tlou Segolela, Carl Lark
Subs: Mthetheleli Mxoyana, Moeketsi Sekola, Lebogang Manyama, Thamsanqa Sangweni, Mduduzi Nyanda, Stuart Goss, Sibusiso Khumalo, Hendrick Ekstein, Mondli Mpoto