South Africa shrugged off a selection crisis to record a comfortable 3-0 success over 10-man Mauritius in the first leg of their Africa Nations Championship qualifier.
Bafana Bafana head coach Shakes Mashaba had to contend with a spate of withdrawals in the build-up to Saturday’s clash at Dobsonville Stadium, but those selected put on an impressive display.
The home side were dominant throughout the encounter in Soweto, as Mauritius struggled to cope with their opponents’ play and rarely threatened.
Should they complete their victory over the two legs, Mashaba’s side will face Swaziland or Angola for a place at the competition in Rwanda.
Thamsanqa Gabuza put South Africa ahead after 25 minutes, and that strike was quickly followed up by one for Siphelele Ntshangase.
Shortly before half-time, Ntshangase doubled his tally as Bafana threatened to inflict a huge defeat but although Mauritius saw David Lengclume sent off 10 minutes from time, they were able to prevent any further damage.
South Africa took the lead when Marc van Heerden’s free-kick was tipped over and, from the resulting corner, Gabuza tapped home at the far post for his second international goal.
Gabuza turned provider for the second, as good interplay between he and Ntshangase sent the latter through for a cool finish.
Another effort from Ntshangase four minutes before the break had South Africa in total control, and it was a position they never looked like relinquishing as Mashaba’s men earned a significant advantage ahead of the second leg.
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