Mpho Makola scored on debut as South Africa beat Senegal for the first time

South Africa coach Ephraim Mashaba was naturally pleased to see the team bounce back strongly against Senegal in the Nelson Mandela Challenge following the loss to Mauritania

Mpho Makola scored on debut as South Africa beat Senegal for the first time with 1-0 win in the annual Nelson Mandela Challenge on Tuesday night.

The Orlando Pirates midfielder decided affairs with a stunning 78th minute strike as Bafana Bafana put in a markedly improved display from their embarrassing 3-1 loss to Mauritania in an AFCON qualifier on the weekend.

Shakes Mashaba’s men were the better side in the first half, with Man of the Match Makola regularly trying his luck from range, while Pirates teammate Thamsanqa Gabuza provided a strong outlet up front at Orlando Stadium.

Gabuza nearly struck just before the interval but his powerful shot from close range was brilliantly pushed onto the crossbar and out by goalkeeper Khadim Ndiaye. Gabuza was released by a wonderful through-ball from Bidvest Wits attacker Sibusiso Vilakazi.

At the other end, Itumeleng Khune did well to keep out a curling free-kick from West Ham forward Diafra Sakho in the 36th minute.

Bafana came close to breaking the deadlock in the 54th minute, but Vilakazi’s first-time shot in the box was superbly foiled by Lys Gomis, moments after he replaced Ndiaye.

Vilakazi had another chance to score 13 minutes later but he steered his attempt wide after being put through one-on-one by Andile Jali on the counter.

Makola, however, got the goal late on at his home stadium to hand Bafana their maiden victory over the Teranga Lions – who pressed at the death – at the seventh attempt.

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