AFCON U-20: South Africa Rally to Hold Niger
Siphesihle Mkhize’s goal was not enough as they drew 1-1 against hosts Niger in Africa U-20 Cup of Nations Group A opener.
Siphesihle Mkhize’s goal was not enough as they drew 1-1 against hosts Niger in Africa U-20 Cup of Nations Group A opener at the Stade General Seyni Kountche in Niamey on Saturday evening.
Inside the opening minute, a genuine opportunity fell to Promise Mkhuma who shot completely off the mark from the laces of the boot.
A cut back from Keenan Phillips saw the ball fall in the path of Fezil Gcaba to take a shot from the middle of the park but Khaled Ibrahim managed to get down to make the save.
Niger gradually found their way and were able to pick up spaces behind the opposite defense, which invited Ismael Souley to a shot on the half-volley.
A curler from the right from Ibrahim Namata nearly found the top corner but his free-kick unfortunately just flew over the post of Glen Baadjies.
South Africa provided more openings at the start of the second half with Njabulo Blom beating the offside trap to take a low shot at Khaled who saved easily.
Niger were always looking to catch the Amajita on the counter and almost succeeded in the 56th minute as Boubacar Goumey got the better of Givemore Khupe, only for the striker to send his shot straight at Baadjies.
The Menas striker did finally break the deadlock six minutes later after he was put through by a great pass from Issa Salou, nudging the ball past the advancing goalkeeper before sliding his follow-up shot into an empty net.
But Thabo Senong’s men found the equaliser in 70th minute as Mkhize headed in Ngcobo’s outswing cross past the helpless Khaled Ibrahim to share the spoils.
In the final minutes, there was an end to end action as Khupe forced a good save from Ibrahim in the 86th minute, before Rux saw his effort coming off the inside of the post a minute later.
Then in the 89th minute, Niger almost capitalised from another quick break which saw Amoustapha breaking free on the right, but he failed to grab his brace and a late winner as he dragged his shot wide of the far post.