4 June 2019 – South Africa showed their mental strength as they came from behind to beat Uganda 4-2 on penalties to book their place in the COSAFA Plate Final on Friday, 07 June 2019 at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Goalkeeper Mondli Mpoto announced his name to the tough encounter early into the game as he produced a well composed save in the 8th minute from an adventurous long range shot.
Moments later Mpoto and his defence had to stand their ground when a scramble near the goal line almost led to a goal. The Bloemfontein Celtic minder stood his ground and cleared the ball amid pressure from industrous Ugandan forward Dan Serunkuma.
South Africa were forced into an early substitution when an injured Bongani Sam had to make way for Jaimie Webber 10 minutes into play.
In the 15th minute Thendu Mukumela fired in a powerful left-footed strike which was spilt by the goalkeeper which resulted into a corner.
Webber’s header struck the upright moments afterwards. Ugandan keeper, Charles Lukwago was constantly being exposed by the South African attack with shots being fired at which the Cranes minder had trouble dealing with.
In the 22nd minute Sipho Mbule dummied the defence nicely to set himself up for a shot on goal after dribbling past on coming defenders, however his shot flew over the goal.
South Africa were almost punished when captain Teboho Mokoena was pushed off the ball by Muzamiru Mutyaba in the 28th minute. The ball then fell onto Charles Lukwago who ballooned his shot over Mpoto’s goal amid strong pressure from Mukumela from the right back position.
South Africa were also applying pressure of their own occasion despite the determination showed by their opponents. Soon afterwards man of the match, Luther Singh used his composure to force a curling shot towards goal after smoothly riding past the Ugandan defense.
David Notoane’s bench introduced their second substitute of the match in Jemondre Dickens who came on in Sipho Mbule’s place.
The Cranes found the lead when Dan Serunkuma scored with a right footed shot from inside the box with just a minute into play after from the halftime break. The pride of Mzansi immediately turned on the charm as they went searching for the equalizer following the breach.
Substitute Webber later thought he’d succeeded when he brilliantly turned his man outside of the box, which he followed up with a strong rightfooted shot but it failed to trouble the keeper.
Mpoto produced two thrilling saves to deny the Ugandans the second goal in the 54th minute as he put his body on the line. The heroics seemed to inspire his teammates.
Singh again struck a powerfully delivered shot towards goal which unluckily got saved by the keeper moments later.
A mistake in defense almost cost South Africa as Sandile Mthethwa was put under pressure by the Cranes’ attack who moments later threatened Mpota’s goal but Mthethwa recovered well to win the ball back with help from Mpota in the 60th minute.
Both sides had to accept the 1-1 scoreline however and await the dreaded penalty kicks to determine the winner.
Mondli Mpoto took his heroics into the penalty spot kicks as he pulled off two consecutive saves to gift South Africa with an early advantage to enable a 4-2 win over the Cranes.
The penalties were scored by Luther Singh, Gift Links, Thendu Mukumela and Jaimie Webber.