South Africa edge past Zambia to reach back-to-back Cup of Nations finals

·2-min read
© Paul Myers/RFI

South Africa moved into the final at the Africa Cup of Nations for the second tournament in a row on Monday following a last-gasp 1-0 win over Zambia.

Linda Motlhalo swept home a penalty in second-half stoppage time after Zambia defender Martha Tembo was adjudged to have hacked down Jermaine Seoposenwe just inside the box.

The decision came after the video assistant referee was consulted. The verdict was harsh on Bruce Mwepa's team who had subjected South Africa to constant pressure from the outset.

Noting how Tunisia had failed to press South Africa's back line during the early stages of their quarter-final in Rabat, Mwepa sent out a team of harriers with Xiomara Mapepa, Ochumba Lubandji and Avell Chitundu at the spear head.

Desiree Ellis's side were unable to consutrct from the back.

And the lack of composure that reared up during the quarter-final descended upon the players anew.

Style

They were stodgy and unable to play their patterns as tackles snapped in. appeared clueless against Zambians who oozed menace and intent.

Lubandji should have done better when she was presented with a chance after nine minutes.

Mapepa was also guilty of failing to get a shot on target when the ball was rolled across the South Africa goalmouth.

At the other end of the pitch it was just as barren. The South Africans could not even breach the penalty area and were reduced to long range shots.

Skipper Refiloe Jane had their first opening after 33 minutes but failed to generate enough power to trouble the Zambia goalkeeper Catherine Musonda.

Both sides had chances to snatch the lead late in the second-half before Tembo's clumsy challenge opened the door.

"I have to take my hat off to Zambia," said Ellis. "We knew it was going to be a tough game because we know each other so well.

"We told ourselves that if we didn't concede a goal, we would score one. And we did."

South Africa will play Morocco or the defending champions Nigeria in the final on 23 July at the Price Moulay Abdallah Stadium in Rabat.

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