Thamsanqa Gabuza and Ayanda Patosi helped South Africa recover from a goal down to end a run of six straight draws with Tuesday’s 2-1 friendly win over Angola.
South Africa were held to a third consecutive goalless stalemate by Gambia in Saturday’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier – their two previous 0-0s having been followed by penalty shootout defeats in the COSAFA Cup – and appeared on course to suffer further frustration when Alexander Christovao opened the scoring in Cape Town.
Angola put four past Central African Republic in their AFCON qualification opener at the weekend, but Gabuza and Patosi ensured Romeu Filemon’s men were denied another success.
Following Christovao’s long-range opener, Gabuza ended South Africa’s luckless spell in front of goal towards the end of the first half – registering Bafana Bafana’s first goal in four matches.
Patosi then enjoyed a slice of luck as his effort cannoned off the crossbar and in off Filipe Malanda 22 minutes from time, ensuring a morale-boosting win for Shakes Mashaba’s side ahead of Thursday’s qualifier with Mauritius.
The visitors began on the front foot as Mingo Bille saw a cross down the right well cleared by Rivaldo Coetzee.
However, Bafana Bafana – who saw Bongani Zungu and Jabulani Shongwe start ahead of Andile Jali and the injured Oupa Manyisa – began to ask questions, with Gabuza heading a Patosi cross wide before the latter found Shongwe, only for the visiting defence to stifle the danger.
South African momentum was curtailed when Christovao beat Itumeleng Khune from distance with an effort that crept under the crossbar.
Patosi remained South Africa’s key threat – the Lokeren winger forcing Landu Mavanga into a save from a free-kick – before Fabricio Mafuta snuffed out a Gabuza chance.
Eventually the pressure told as Gabuza seized on a loose ball in the box to level on the stroke of half-time.
As in the first half, Angola began positively after the break as Christovao’s 56th-minute shot was blocked by Coetzee.
Gabuza’s foul on Mingo Bille caused something of a melee prior to the hour and, with the intensity increasing, the hosts stepped up their efforts for a winner.
Patosi continued to probe down the right and forced Landu into a smart stop before eventually getting his reward. An impressive chip beat the Angola goalkeeper and the ball bounced down off the bar before finding its way into the net via Malanda.
The nature of the winning goal provided a welcome slice of fortune for Mashaba, who had defended his side’s showings amid their recent run of disappointing results.
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