South Africa U23 squad sailed into Senegal 8-Nations Olympic qualifying tournament with a vintage 3-0 win over ragged Zimbabwe at a cold Harry Gwala Stadium on Saturday evening.
Having drawn the first leg 1-1, South Africa meant business from the word go and the final score, courtesy of a double by Keagan Dolly and Gift Motupa gave the fluent home side a good 4-1 aggregate score.
Dolly gave South Africa an ideal start when he scored in the opening minutes of the game with an angled effort.
But while South Africa were still celebrating, Zimbabwe almost hit back immediately but their effort hit the upright. And it was going to be Zimbabwe’s last really good effort worth mentioning.
It was 2-0 moments later for the rampant home side when from a corner kick, Zimbabwe failed to clear and Gift Motupa accepted the gift to make it 2-0 and put the home team in a driving seat.
The visitors then resorted to fouling Siphelele Ntshangase who was at the centre of almost of all South Africa’s attacks.
Zimbabwe whose travel arrangements were nothing short of chaos, didn’t sit back and poured upfront.
Moments later, Keagan Dolly got a yellow card for what the referee alleged was a crude tackle.
As South Africa started to sit back, Zim fashioned a few openings but the most glaring chances still fell to the home side as the match went to half-time with the home team leading 2-0.
In the second half, Abubbakar Mobara came on for Phumlane Ntshangase and moments later Riyaad Norodien came on for fading Andile Fikizolo.
As South Africa dropped the intensity, Zimbabwe tried to come back into the game but still could not create clear cut chances to trouble Ricardo Goss.
Dumisani Zuma could have killed the game midway through the second half following a great pass by Dolly by was foiled when he was about the pull the trigger.
Then with the referee starting to look at his watch, Dolly’s free kick gave Zimbabwean keeper Tatenda Mkuruva no chance for a 3-0 whitewash.
South Africa starting line-up: Ricardo Goss (G), Tshepo Rikhotso, Zitha Macheke, Kwanda Mngonyama, Siyabonga Zulu, Phumlani Ntshangase, Siphelele Ntshangase, Keagan Dolly, Gift Motupa, Andile Fikizolo, Dumsani Zuma.
Zim starting line-up: Tatenda Mukuruva (C), Tungamirai Takwara, Knox Mtizwa, Blessing Moyo, Walter Musona, Mgcini Sibanda, Kudakwashe Mahachi, Pritchard Mpelele, Tafadzwa Kutinyu, Lingani Hadebe, Liberty Chakoroma
Referee: Simanga Nhleko; Mandla Gama, Petros Mbingo – Swaziland