South Africa moved through to the Cosafa Cup semifinals following a 4-2 penalty shootout win over a gutsy Lesotho side in Windhoek on Saturday.
The Olympic-bound U23s played to a 1-1 draw in regulation time as they look to gel before the Rio tournament in August.
Owen da Gama’s manne made the brighter start and indeed went on to enjoy the upper hand for most of the first half, with Black Aces’ Aubrey Modiba and Orlano Pirates striker Gift Motupa threatening.
It was therefore against the run of play that the Crocodiles found the back of the net in the 19th minute.
The goal was a fine effort, Jane Thaba-Ntso sprinting onto a through ball into the box, guiding the ball across Bafana keeper Reyaad Pieterse and in at the far post.
Bafana started the second half with purpose, camping out in the opposition half, but the Crocodiles’ defence was plugged in, dealing with everything that came their way.
Maritzburg United winger Deolin Mekoa, however, came close to scoring. But SA’s persistence paid off in the 65th minute when Motupa found the net, scoring with a straight-forward header after a perfectly-flighted cross by Tebogo Moerane down the left flank.
The game continued at a frenetic pace, the action end to end, while South Africa’s numbers were cut to 10 men in the 85th minute after Motupa was red-carded.
Mekoa was close to winning the game for South Africa in the 89th minute, but Jousse did brilliantly to get a hand to his angled drive, leaving the outcome of the match to be decided on penalties after 90 minutes.