Second-half strike saves SA after penalty put Ghana ahead
Bafana Bafana played to a 1-1 draw with a strong Ghana lineup in last night’s international friendly at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Panathinaikos midfielder Wakusu Mubarak put Ghana ahead from the penalty spot in the 38th minute.
Ayanda Patosi’s shot that caught the strong breeze that blew across Moses Mabhida went in over the head of Ghana goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey.
Bafana coach Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba handed debuts to Platinum Stars centreback Isaac Nhlapo and Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Brighton Mhlongo.
He also gave starts to Belgianbased Patosi and Romania-based May Mahlangu in a team that showed seven changes from Saturday’s 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw against Burkina Faso in Ouagadougou.
Ghana coach Avram Grant, the former Chelsea manager, rested forward stars Asamoah Gyan and Jonathon Ayew, but made just four changes from his side’s 0-0 home Russia 2018 draw against Uganda in Tamale on Friday night.
His side had plenty of Europeanbased experience, including the Leicester City defender Daniel Amartey, Newcastle United forward Christian Atsu, Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey and the Colombus Crew right-back Harrison Afful.
Ghana dominated possession in the first half. In the second 45 minutes, the South Africans showed greater urgency and had the better of the attacking play.
Largely, the international friendly degenerated into a dour midfield battle.
Ghana, comfortable on the ball, organised and classy, edged a less coordinated South Africa in the first half and deserved a 1-0 lead by the break.
They had a clear chance early on, in just the fifth minute, as Christian Atsu played Majeed Waris through on the right of the area, whose shot forced a save off the legs of Mhlongo.
In a slow-paced first half, it took until the 32nd minute when dangerous Atsu found space on the right and produced a low cross that Frank Acheampong skied high and wide stretching for a connection at the far post.
Ghana earned their penalty when right-back Harrison Afful was played through the middle and brought down by a lunging challenge from Nhlapo.
Mubarak stepped up to slot to the right of Mhlongo.
Nhlapo was replaced by Ramahlwe Mphahlele in the 41st.
The South Africans came out more cohesive from the change rooms, and looking more forceful in attack.
It took just six minutes for Bafana toequalise with a goal from Lokeren’s Patosi that might see the 23-year-old forward, who has six caps for Bafana, given more of a role for the national team in the coming months’ fur ther World Cup qualifiers.
Sibusiso Vilakazi teed Patosi up just inside Ghana’s area on the right, whose serving chip-cum-shot curled in over a stretching Kwarasey.
The South Africans were unable to break down Ghana further until, in the 84th minute, Eleazar Rodgers played Thamsanqa Gabuza through the middle, but the out-of-form Pirates striker skied his shot harmlessly high over Kwarasey’s crossbar.
Bafana tried to muscle their way through a strong, excellently-arranged Ghanaian defence in the final minutes of the game, but without success.