South Africa completed another upset in the round of 16 at the Africa Cup of Nations when they eliminated hosts Egypt 1-0 at the Cairo International Stadium on Saturday night.
Bafana Bafana claimed the deserved victory thanks to a late strike from winger Thembinkosi Lorch, having put in an outstanding performance against the highly-rated Pharaohs. Stuart Baxter’s side advance to face old foes Nigeria in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
Egypt started the match strongly and threatened through the likes of Mohamed Salah and Mahmoud ‘Trezeguet’ Hassan. Yet the best efforts on goal in the opening quarter came from South Africa’s Percy Tau.
The forward twice tested goalkeeper Ahmed El Shenawy with powerful left-footed shots. The first was well held by the gloves-man, while the second (which was direct from a free kick) called for an outstanding save to keep the scoreline blank.
Midway through the first half, the Pharaohs created their first clear chance, with a counter-attack gifting Hassan a sight of goal with only Ronwen Williams to beat, but he directed his low shot straight at the Bafana Bafana ‘keeper.
SA continued to try their hand at shooting on goal, with Thembinkosi Lorch and Kamohelo Mokotjo both firing shots just wide of El Shenawy’s right-hand post, but the first half ended with the teams locked at 0-0.
Egypt had the first clear chance of the second stanza and again it was ‘Trezeguet’ who squandered a great opportunity: Mohamed Salah’s defence-splitting pass picked out the Pharaohs’ number seven, but he hit his shot straight at Williams in the 57th minute.
Bafana Bafana put together a fine passing move on 73 minutes to put Lorch in on goal, but he too was guilty shooting straight at the goalkeeper, allowing El Shenawy to make a comfortable low save.
The match looked set for extra time, but on 85 minutes South Africa struck on a quick counter attack: Lebo Mothiba beautifully played in Lorch, who this time showed great composure to slide a shot beyond the ‘keeper and provide the decisive moment.
South Africa (0) 1 (Lorch 85’)
Egypt: El Shenawy, Elmohamady, Hegazy, Alaa, Asgraf, Elneny (Soliman 83’), Said (Warda 64’), Hamed, Salah, Mohsen (Ali 46’), Trezeguet
SA: Williams, Mkhize, Hlatshwayo, Mkhwanazi, Hlanti, Furman (Kekana 90+2’), Zungu, Mokotjo, Lorch (Veldwijk 90+3’), Mothiba, Tau