Cameroon had to fight for a 2-2 draw against South Africa in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier played at Limbe Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The match was off to a slow start as neither team really created a chance in the first 15 minutes. The hosts did, however, manage a shot on target through ? Bekamenga, but Itumeleng Khune made a simple save.
In the 17th minute the deadlock was broken in fine style by Bafana Bafana. A beautiful throughball from Andile Jali picked out Tokelo Rantie’s run, and the striker rounded the goalkeeper before producing a composed finish. Khune looked solid between the sticks for the South Africans throughout the first half, making a couple of good saves.
In the 38th minute he made the best of them to keep out a stinging volley. Rantie showed off some great individual skill just before the break as he beat a defender with quick feet, but he tried to beat another instead of passing and lost possession. The Bournemouth striker had another great opening moments later when Mandla Masango played him through on goal with a chipped ball, but he could not beat the shotstopper.
In first half stoppage time the scores were level once again as Sebastian Siani scored a terrific goal that left Khune with no chance. The visitors’ lead was restored in sensational style five minutes into the second half. Hlompho Kekana had the ball inside his own half when he spotted the goalkeeper off his line and sent an audacious shot at goal which found the back of the net, silencing the home supporters. Kekana’s wonder-strike gave Bafana Bafana all the momentum, but that changed in the 66th minute when the Indomitable Lions found their equaliser as ? Nkoulou headed home a free kick with confidence.
South Africa had a big penalty shout in the dying seconds when Thulani Serero went down in the box, but the referee waved it away and it ended in a draw. The sides meet again on Tuesday in Durban. Unless Shakes Mashaba’s men secure victory, their dreams of playing in Gabon next year will all but evaporate.
Photo credit: AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGO