Bafana Bafana finished off their 2015 Africa Cup of Nations preparations with an with a sublime performance against Mali, winning 3-0 at the Stade Monedan in Libreville, on Wednesday.
The boys could be forgiven for starting the game at a slow pace due to the extreme heat and uneven pitch. But Shakes Mashaba’s men managed to keep his unbeaten record intact as Thulani Hlatshwayo, Sibusiso Vilakazi and Dean Furman netted a goal each.
Bafana Bafana opened the scoring in the 37th minute despite a dominant Eagles performance in the opening exchanges, with Hlatshwayo’s header going past goalkeeper Soumeila Diakite as he met Masango’s free-kick to net his first goal in national colours.
Mali came back very strong after the break with Mustapha Yatabare and Seydou Keita’s shots.
The West African would feel aggrieved not to get even a consolation goal after Mohamed Traore missed a sitter at the end. The Malian striker looked set to score, but somehow shot wide of an open goal.
In the 82nd min Vilakazi’s one-two with Andile Jali allowed him space to rounding the Mali keeper and slot a goal to an open net as he continued his scoring run for Bafana.
Furman’s 85th min effort wrapped things up for the troops, as he guided the ball into the back of the net on rebound to secure South Africa’s first win over Mali in four attempts.
South Africa will play Algeria next in their opening game of the 2015 AFCON on 19 January, while Mali will kick-off their tournament against Cameroon in Malabo a day later.
Mali (0) 0
South Africa (1) 3 (Hlatshwayo 37′ Vilakazi 82′ Furman 85′)
Mali: S.Diakite; D.Diakite, Konate, Tamboura, Wague, Doumbia, Keita, Sylla, Sako, M.Yatabare, S. Yatabare
South Africa: Mabokgwane; Nhlapo, Hlatshwayo, Ngcongca, Matlaba, Furman, Jali, Masango, Phala, Vilakazi, Ndulula