In what was billed as Limpopo River derby, goals by Knowledge Musona and Cuthbert Malajila gave visiting Zimbabwe a 2-1 victory over a Bafana Bafana side that never matched the high standards that saw them wallop Botswana 4-1 last Saturday.
Bafana Bafana stand-in skipper Bernard Parker netted a consolation goal for the home side but the scorcher will go down as one of the striker’s most imperious goals.
Though this was just a friendly match, there was nothing friendly in the middle of the park as both sides took the game by the scruff of the neck.
Bafana coach Gordon Igesund made several changes to the squad that crushed Botswana on Saturday but it was Zimbabwe who started the brightest.
In the very opening minute, Kingstone Nkhata got the better of club teammate Eric Mathoho but Knowledge Musona blasted his shot over the bar.
In the seventh minute, Nkhata was slow to react when he came face to face with Darren Keet and Bafana Bafanasurvived again.
Bafana then forced consecutive corner kicks but again it was the visitors who looked dangerous on the break. Khama Billiathad a long range shot just going wide midway through the first half as the match see-sawed from one end to the other.
The combination of Billiat and Musona was really proving athorn in the flesh for the Bafana back four.
In the 35 th minute Parker was set up by Zungu but the Zimbabwe defence cleared for a corner as Bafana started to get their footing.
While the match lacked the electrifying atmosphere, both teams deservedly went on break deadlocked.
Zimbabwe were again quick off the blocks forcing a corner in the 50 th minute. And from the resultant corner, Musona rifled home a cracker after South Africa had failed to clear their lines. The shot was so fierce; Keet was left clutching thin air.
Zimbabwe could have made it 2-0 moments later but Nkhata fluffed a great chance when he had only the keeper to beat.
Parker had a great chance to equalise but his header went narrowly wide. Bongani Zungu followed moments later but again glanced his attempt wide. Tempers then flared in typical derby fashion and Willard Katsande was shown a yellow card for remonstrating too far.
In the 74 th minute, a rasping shot from Tsepo Masilela agonisingly went over the bar as Bafana Bafana pressed for the equaliser.
Zimbabwe had the ball in the back of the net in the 80 th minute but the goal was ruled offside though replays showed match officials blundered on the decision.
Cuthbert Malajila then made a hush of a clear chance after being put through by Nkhata late in the match. Malajila then made it 2-0 in the referee’s optional time after outstandingNkhata had set him up and was left with the easiest of tasks to tap the ball home.
Parker pulled one back with a cracker of a goal from just outside the box to give the scoreline some respectability for the home side.