Visitors score late goal to beat SA 2-1 in international friendly
Zambia burst Stuart Baxter’s bubble as Chipolopolo claimed a come-frombehind 2-1 win against South Africa at the Moruleng Stadium. Lebogang Manyama’s 23rd-minute goal was cancelled out by Brian Mwila’s 72nd-minute equaliser, before Lubinda Mundia bundled in the winner seven minutes later.
Baxter fielded an experimental side, with a new back four that held out well in the first half, before fading in the second stanza.
However, Baxter can be happy with the fact the attackers he fielded showed intent, despite their profligacy in front of goal.
Manyama showed why he has been the flavour of the season when he nodded in a well-weighted Kermit Erasmus cross from the left.
Manyama collected the man-of-the-match award, despite the defeat.
Aside from Tiyani Mabunda’s 15th long range shot that went narrowly wide of Allan Chibwe’s goal, opportunities were few and far between for both sides.
After their contrasting continental exploits at home and away respectively, they were understandably rusty and fatigued.
A chilly North West winter’s evening also did not help, even though there was a reasonable crowd turnout.
One thing the teams did not lack was physicality and, at times, Zimbabwean match official Nomore Musundire was loath to punish the players.
Only one yellow card to Zambian captain Donashano Malamu was brandished, and that was also for a two-footed tackle that could have received worse punishment in a competitive match.
However, South Africa took charge of the match and created the better chances through Erasmus and Percy Tau, but those opportunities were not converted.
The fact that South Africa enjoyed 63% of the possession, despite their lone goal, spoke of the dominance they exerted in the half.
Even though Zambia coach Wedson Nyirenda made a raft of substitutions throughout the game, Zambia hardly lost their shape and tested reserve goalkeeper Ronwen Williams, who replaced Darren Keet.
Before Mwila equalised, Malamu forced Williams into an excellent 55thminute save, as the defence backed away in the face of a Zambian attack.
That proved to be the trending theme, and Rivaldo Coetzee and Lorenzo Gordinho struggled to gel as a back-up centre back combination.
It was the case when Zambia equalised, as the defence expected Zambia to weave through the defence.
With the unexpected space, Mwila unleashed a scorcher from just outside the box that had the beating of Williams via his near post.
The visitors then took the lead seven minutes later through Mundia, as the hosts again battled to deal with Zambia’s smart passing.