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SA qualifies after drawing with Morocco
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Issam El Adoua
Issam El Adoua
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By Ayodele Odumade
In a pulsating finish to Group A, South Africa drew with Morocco, qualified for the quarter final, whilst Morocco was eliminated. South Africa knew that if they did not lose and the result in the other game went their way, they would qualify. Morocco was in the same situation provided they got a better result than Cape Verde.
In the 6th minute, Youssef El Arabi of Morocco tried to chip South Africa goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune, but he parried the ball for a corner.
In the 10th minute, Issam El Adoua scored for Morocco with a header from a corner kick. Khune should have saved it but made a complete mess of it.
In the 26th minute, Bernard Parker had a chance to equalise for South Africa but he dragged his shot wide. In the 44th minute, Morocco should have doubled their lead. Kamel Chafni broke clear but Khune had read the situation well, came out of his box and saved his weak shot with his legs. Morocco led 1-0 at half time.
In the 53rd minute, Thuso Phala saw his free kick saved by Nadir Lamyaghri. In the 61st minute, Thulani Serero saw his shot saved. Two minutes later, Chafni went down the other end and in a one on one duel with Khune, with the same outcome and Khune saved his attempted chip.
In the 70th minute, South Africa equalised. May Mahlangu curled a wonderful shot round the keeper after an exchange of passes with Tokelo Ranti. At this stage, both teams would have still qualified for the quarter final. News came through from the other game that Cape Verde had equalised against Angola. At that very moment in the 81st minute, Morocco regained the lead. Abdelilah Hafidi controlled a cross while the South African defenders stood around ball watching. He chested the ball down, shot low into the net and stunned the South African side into silence.
In the 86th minute, South Africa equalised. Siyabonga Sangweni who was playing upfront as an auxiliary striker received the ball and shifted it from his left foot to his right and curled the ball round the keeper to the relief of the South African crowd.
Minutes later, news came through from the other game that Cape Verde has scored a winner against Angola, which meant both they and South Africa qualified for the quarter final. Morocco and Angola were eliminated. It was an exciting climax to the group stages.