2013 Africa Cup of Nations hosts begin tournament preparations in earnest with home triumph over Malawi in Durban
South Africa scored twice in the opening 13 minutes to setup a morale boosting 3-1 win over Malawi in Durban on Saturday as they began in earnest their preparations for next month’s 2013 Africa Cup of Nations finals.
The Kaizer Chefs pair of Lehlohonolo Majoro and Siphiwe Tshabalala both got goals in a flying start to the game at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, where Bafana will play two of their three Group A matches at the end of January.
Malawi netted from a penalty early in the second half but South Africa kept up the two goal advantage with a converted spot kick off their own 15 minutes from time.
It took just seven minutes to open the scoring through Lerato Chabangu’s clever skills as he set up the opening goal, ghosting past defender Harry Nyirenda to fire in a shot that Malawi goalkeeper Simplex Nthala failed to hold onto, leaving a simple tap in for Majoro.
Siboniso Gaxa was the provider of the second goal with a cross at the end of a marauding run that saw Tshabalala bundle home the ball amid some poor Malawian defending.
Tshabalala, who only played one half, had a headed chance from a similar position later in the half but the ball was too strong and his own lack of aerial prowess was exposed.
South Africa kept up a good run of possession but could not maintain the early tempo but might yet have had more before the break.
Chabangu’s 39th minute free kick was saved by Nthala but let the ball drop, almost presenting Bevan Fransman with a chance.
Davey Banda attempted Malawi’s first strike on the home team’s goal in the 41st minute but his shot from outside the South Africa penalty area went over the top. Joseph Kamwendo tried a similar effort just before the break as Malawi found it hard to break down the home half.
A clumsy challenge from defender Siyabonga Sangweni earned Malawi a penalty two minutes into the second half, calmly converted by former Orlando Pirates midfielder Kamwendo.
It roused the sizeable contingent of Malawi fans into rapturous applause of almost every touch from their team but Malawi opted for long range shooting instead of trying to unlock the defence through the middle.
Earlier in the half, four changes by South Africa coach Gordon Igesund inside the first 17 minutes of the second half saw his side lose rhythm.
Substitute Daine Klate was on target with a 70th minute free kick but it did not have the pace to beat Nthala.Then came South Africa’s penalty when Tokelo Rantie’ strength and pace was stopped by a trip in the area and the subsequent spot kick was scored by another of the changes -- May Mahlangu. It was the first international goal for the Swedish-based midfielder.