9 November 2019 — South Africa’s National Under-23 side played to a 0-0 draw in their opening Group B 2019 U-23 Africa Cup of Nations match against Zambia at the Al Salam Stadium on Saturday night.
Coach David Notoane’s side created plenty of chances, however, were just unlucky not to find the back of the net in each half of this COSAFA derby.
It is in the first half, the National Under-23s demonstrated brilliant discipline in their rearguard, thwarting every scoring opportunities their opponents created, while creating a decent number of their own. And whenever Zambia found breathing spaces in attack to take shots at goal, Goalkeeper Darren Johnson was equal to the task to deny them the few chances the got to shoot for goal.
In the second period, Zambia opted to play with more numbers at the back in an attempt to deal with an aggressive style of play South Africa showed in their attack in the first period of the match.
That plan worked as South Africa were denied scoring opportunities despite of all their efforts up in the final third.
In the 50th minute, Kobamelo Kodisang who had been industrious from the onset alongside eventual man of the match winner Kamohelo Mahlatsi, evaded three of his markers inside the 18-yard box before pulling a shot in search for a goal. Kodisang’ shot, however, went disappointingly wide.
20 minutes later from that chance, Thabiso Monyane made a brilliant run into the box before pulling a powerful shot in search of an opener. The opposition’s goalkeeper, though, was well positioned to make the required save.
In their next group match, South Africa will take on Ivory Coast on 12 November at the Al Salam Stadium.
That match will kick-off at 17h00.