SA-U23’s brush off Angola to set up a date with Zimbabwe

SA-U23’s brush off Angola to set up a date with Zimbabwe

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - MARCH 26: Jamie Webber of South Africa celebrates with teammates after scoring during U23 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier, 2nd Leg match between South Africa and Angola at Bidvest Stadium on March 26, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)

South Africa’s bid to qualify for the 2019 Africa U-23 Cup of Nations (AFCON) remains on track after a 3-0 win over Angola at the Bidvest Stadium on Tuesday night gave them a 6-1 aggregate victory.

SuperSport midfielder Jamie Webber put the hosts ahead after only 10 minutes, with club team-mate Tebogo Mokoena adding the second goal in the 80th minute before Portugal-based Luther Singh completed the scoring late on in what was a comfortable night for the hosts.

After winning the first leg encounter 3-1 in Luanda, thanks to goals from Phakamani Mahlambi, Thendo Mukumela and Grant Margeman, the biggest danger for the South Africans was going to be complacency.

But coach David Notoane’s charges were on the front foot from the outset in Braamfontein, and after Singh had failed to convert an early chance, they went in front when Webber’s thunderous shot flew into the back of the net.

South Africa remained in the ascendancy, with Singh’s pace and purpose a real threat to the Angolans, although he squandered another good chance midway through the opening stanza.

As the game moved into the second half, there was very little resistance from an increasingly lacklustre Angolan side and the result was put beyond doubt with 10 minutes to play when Mokoena converted a Kamohelo Mahlatsi cross, with Lyle Foster also involved in the build-up.

Singh, who had played a hand in all three of the goals in the first leg win in Luanda, finally had his reward when he got on the score-sheet in the dying minutes of the match.

The SA U-23 side will now take on Zimbabwe (who beat Mozambique 2-0 earlier on Tuesday to record a 2-0 aggregate victory) in a two-legged play-off on the 5th and 9th of June, with the winner of joining hosts Egypt and six other nations at the U-23 AFCON tournament in November this year.

The six other qualification matches are: Zambia vs Congo, Ghana vs Algeria, Cameroon vs Tunisia, Ivory Coast vs Guinea, Sudan vs Nigeria, and DR Congo vs Mali/ Ethiopia.

The top three countries at U-23 AFCON finals will automatically qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.

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