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Defending champions held by Bafana

11 September 2014, 06:52

Cape Town - Bafana Bafana continued their solid start to their 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifying campaign when they held defending African champions Nigeria to a goalless draw in Cape Town on Wednesday night.

On the back of their perfect 3-0 start against Sudan just five days earlier, South Africa looked the better side and would consider themselves unlucky not to have grabbed maximum points.

The draw though, continued Bafana's trend of never having beaten or even scored against Nigeria in an Afcon qualifier and coach Shakes Mashaba will have to wait a bit longer for South Africa's first ever win over the African giants.

Already under the pump following defeat in their opening group A clash with Congo-Brazzaville, Nigeria went into the game desperate for points and were clearly an anxious outfit, who came up against a determined and fired-up South Africa hungry for more points.

The opening 20 minutes belonged to the hosts as Nigeria seemed to disappear without a trace. Bafana paid regular visits into the Nigerian half, spearheaded by South Africa's two-goal hero from the Sudan victory, Sibusiso Vilakazi.

Fresh from scoring his first ever goals for the country, Vilakazi looked lively and caused plenty of problems with his direct lines and constant threat with the ball at his feet.

Bafana threatened but failed to get a shot away, save for Oupa Manyisa's blocked effort in the sixth minute.

Things came to a head when Erick Mathoho's vicious volleyed-attempt looked to have struck a Nigerian hand inside the area, prompting a unanimous appeal from the boisterous Cape Town crowd.

The appeals however, fell on deaf ears as referee Joshua Bondo waved play on and resisted making a brave call after 20 minutes.

A thrilling but ultimately toothless first half made way for a tighter affair after the interval, but still Bafana did well to ask questions of the Nigerian defence.

Andile Jali was at his best once again and constantly disrupted the opposition midfield.

Nigeria saw plenty of their promising chances end prematurely with wayward long shots that failed to call Bafana skipper Senzo Meyiwa into decisive action.

There was a scare, however on 80 minutes when Mathoho made a potentially match-saving headed clearance off the line to deny Ighodaro Osaguona, who looked a certainty from close-range.

A frantic 84th minute could have seen Bafana steal the lead as first Rantie forced a save out of Austine Ejide, with Jali and Vilakazi also having chances at goal.



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